Vicksburg’s James signs with Mississippi Delta, Hall with Hinds to play basketball

Published 2:23 pm Tuesday, March 26, 2024

All throughout their high school basketball careers, Rodrianna Hall and Kierra James watched other people get the spotlight.

This season, as seniors, it was their time to shine. Not only did they do it, they’ll get to keep doing it a while longer.

The two Vicksburg High players recently signed with junior college programs and celebrated the achievement with family, friends and teammates during a ceremony at the school on Tuesday. Hall signed with Hinds Community College and James with Mississippi Delta.

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“It really means a lot to me because I never thought I would get this opportunity, so I’ve got to make the best of it,” Hall said.

Hall and James both saw plenty of playing time over the past couple of seasons, but were thrust into more prominent — and much different — roles this year. Eight seniors graduated from the 2023-24 team, which left Hall, James and fellow senior Terri Boyd to quickly become elder stateswomen on a young roster.

After five years of looking up at the big class above them, it took some getting used to.

“I stepped out more. I knew I was going to have to be the leader this year,” James said. “Coming up, I never played with my class. So this was the first year I played with my class and I knew I was going to have to be the leader and get everybody on the same page. This year it was that year. It was that time.”

Hall, meanwhile, faced an extra challenge by switching from shooting guard to point guard. It was a position she hadn’t played since she was a freshman.

“I did it before, but it was kind of hard. In ninth grade it’s like JV. In high school everything is fast and you’ve got to think fast. I handled it the best I could,” Hall said. “You go from being a role player to one of the top players. It was kind of hard.”

James and Hall both handled their roles as leaders and go-to players very well.

James averaged 13 points and seven rebounds per game, while Hall averaged nine points per game. They helped the Missy Gators engineer an impressive midseason turnaround. After losing their first nine games they went 10-12 the rest of the way and reached the MHSAA Class 6A state tournament.

“It was hard because so many people were depending on me to get further than we did (last season),” James said. “I was proud of what we made it to. Nobody thought we could do it. Nobody thought we could make it out of district and we proved them wrong.”

As the season went along, both players gained the attention of Mississippi’s junior college coaches. They were both recruited by several teams.

James said she built a good relationship with Mississippi Delta coach Tangela Banks that led her to sign with the Trojans.

“Their environment, the coach, I loved how she was dedicated to me. She came to all my games and kept calling asking how I was. I just loved the environment,” James said.

Hall picked Hinds for academic reasons, as well as another unique opportunity. She wants to major in cosmetology, which Hinds offers but other schools don’t.

“Hinds feels more like family. And Co-Lin, I had already experienced the college and they didn’t have what I wanted to major in. So there was no point in going to college if I wasn’t going to major in what I was planning to major in,” Hall said.
Hall will also try to walk on to Hinds’ track and field team. She was The Vicksburg Post’s girls’ track Athlete of the Year in 2023, when she qualified for the Class 5A state meet in four events and finished second in the long jump.

“It’s important because I’m just as good in track as I am in basketball, if not better,” she said.

She and James were both pretty good at basketball, too, and showed it by achieving something only a select few in Mississippi do each year. Sharing the moment, they both said, made it even more special.

“We’ve been playing together since junior high, so it means a lot,” Hall said.

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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