ABERDEEN — The smile on Jameika Hoskins” face Tuesday equaled relief.
Hoskins wasn”t as relaxed last Thursday, and Aberdeen High School girls basketball coach Latorrence Bivens could see it in her eyes.
After Hoskins scored 22 points in a victory against Baldwyn, she admitted to Bivens she “had purple and gold on her mind.”
Those colors helped spell relief five days later.
With the school colors of purple and gold on a flag by her side, Hoskins made her college plans official as she signed a letter of intent to play basketball at Alcorn State.
“It is a huge thing and a big decision I had to make,” Hoskins said. “Now I can get my mind on a state championship.”
Hoskins made her decision after receiving a full scholarship offer from Alcorn State on Nov. 1. She said it was difficult not to accept the offer given she didn”t receive a lot of interest or scholarship offers from Mississippi State or the University of Mississippi.
While that might have bothered Hoskins, she didn”t let on Tuesday, saying only she would have plenty of motivation when she joined Alcorn State”s program next season.
“It is not easy gaining interest from schools,” Hoskins said. “You just have to get on the court and play hard. To sign for a school and get a full ride is a huge honor. I have (wanted to get a scholarship) all my life. I grew up wanting to play ball in college and going pro.”
Hoskins has been a mainstay on the girls basketball and volleyball teams at Aberdeen High. Last year, Hoskins had a team-high 19 points in a 62-48 loss to Raymond in the semifinals of the Class 3A Mississippi High School Activities Association Cellular South State Basketball Championships at Mississippi Coliseum.
The loss was a departure from the blowout losses Aberdeen, which went 28-8 last season, suffered to Raymond the previous two seasons.
This year, Raymond has moved up to Class 4A, which could make Aberdeen”s road to a state title a little easier.
That road will be easier if the Lady Bulldogs have more success from the free-throw line. Aberdeen was 4 of 20 in the state semifinal, while Raymond was 13 of 16.
Hoskins had 32 points in season-opening victory at Jackson Lanier. She had eight points Tuesday night in a 48-46 victory against Amory that helped Aberdeen improve to 3-0.
It”s no secret Hoskins wants to go out a champion as a senior. She said the decision to sign with Alcorn State will make that goal easier to accomplish.
“I see us winning the state championship,” said Hoskins, who is undecided about a major. “We have to come together as a team, but right now I don”t see anything in our way.”
Bivens, who is in his first season as the girls basketball coach at Aberdeen High, said he first had a chance to watch Hoskins play basketball this summer. He said her game has matured in that short span, and has the potential to grow a lot more.
“She has worked hard and at the end of everything that you work for there is some type of reward,” Bivens said. “She put in the work and now she has been rewarded for it. We expect big things from Jameika at Alcorn. I told her no matter where she goes she can make a big impact.”
Bivens said Hoskins has elevated her game defensively. He said she always has been a contributor on offense who can use her strength and athleticism to take the ball to the basket. He is excited Hoskins will have a chance to develop all of those skills at the Division I level.
“I see her becoming an all-around player,” Bivens said. “I think that slowed her down because everybody was (so concerned) about points. Now she has stats all over the board, whether it is offensive rebounds, defensive rebounds, steals, or assists. She is doing everything. She is turning into that player we need her to be. She understands that for us to get to state she is going to have to step up and be the leader and take everybody on her wings. She did that in Jackson (against Lanier) and she did that at Baldwyn.”
Hoskins plans to make her first visit to Alcorn State very soon. She anticipates big things from herself when she arrives on campus, but first she has business to attend to at Aberdeen High.
“I can see a big change, and I think I can go there and help out a lot,” Hoskins said.
n Aberdeen 48, Amory 46: At Aberdeen, Dayana McGee had a team-high 16 points Tuesday to help the Lady Bulldogs improve to 3-0.
Janee Hodges had nine points, Hoskins had eight points, and Michelle Stewart and Regina Barker added six apiece for Aberdeen.
Kiana Ford led Amory with 18 points, while Alexandria Thompson added 10.
Adam Minichino is the former Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.