SOUTH WEBSTER — Tucked away within western South Carolina, South Webster’s Kacie Hall — quite frankly and even quite quietly—had a fantastic athletic and academic collegiate career.
And, while she graduates this year from Presbyterian College, her basketball future—in her own words —may or may not be over.
It is, of course, her choice on what she decides to do, but Hall hasn’t had a chance to reflect too much about basketball since the Blue Hose endured an untimely end to its season — and hence’s Hall’s college eligibility.
However, she did take time out on Monday —from finishing her final paper due on Saturday towards completion of her student-teaching program —to interview via telephone with The Portsmouth Daily Times about all things past, present and future in regards to PC.
Presbyterian College — located in Clinton, S.C. — is a private, four-year liberal arts college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church, and its women’s basketball program is a Big South Conference member under the NCAA Division I umbrella.
Hall completed her Blue Hose career by placing on the program’s Division I top-5 all-time lists in points (1,099), made three-pointers (208), assists (247) and steals (130).
She is fourth on the school’s career scoring list in the Division I era, which began in 2007, and is fourth all-time in school history for the most made three-point goals.
“I scored 1,000 points my junior year of high school, but I never imagined I would do it at the college level. It means a lot. I’ve taken a lot of pride in my shooting. I’ve worked hard on it and improved it and evolved it over the years. I’ve had to learn to shoot better moving to the ball and playing without the ball and getting open,” said Hall. “I was comfortable shooting three-point shots and didn’t feel afraid out there. I take pride in being able to score 1,000 points and make 200 threes.”
Hall, a four-year all-Southeast District Division IV honoree who averaged at least 13 points per game for all four years, was a three-time first-team Associated Press all-district selection — and earned second-team all-Ohio as a junior (17.1 ppg) and first-team all-state as a senior (18.2 ppg).
A Middle School Education major with concentrations in math and science, Hall has spent her senior season student-teaching —and earned Big South all-academic accolades her final two years.
But she said statistics and honors, although nice recognition, isn’t what her PC experience was about.
“It’s been a crazy journey, but I am very thankful for my teammates for always making it enjoyable for me. My teammates meant a lot to me and were very supportive of me. It’s not about stats. Yeah, I scored 1,000 points and made 200 threes, but I could’ve never done that without my teammates. The community down there (at PC) was so supportive. The impact a small community makes is important,” said Hall. “My parents have always supported me and many of my eighth-grade students came to support me on our Senior Night. That meant so much to see them going to a women’s college basketball game.”
As for one basketball game in particular, perhaps it was going to be her final one, never happened.
In the quarterfinal round of the Big South Tournament on March 11, the ninth-seeded Blue Hose had been scheduled to face top-seeded and tournament host Campbell —with tipoff time set for 6 p.m.
Following an 11 a.m. shoot-around, the team was called into a conference room at its hotel —and was unfortunately informed that the tournament had been cancelled, due to the increased threat of the coronavirus.
Hall had trouble talking about what happened without getting emotional.
“They broke the news to us and it was like that’s the end of it,” she said. “It hits me sometimes when I think about it. It was devastating and shocking to hear. We’re getting ready for a game, then at the last minute, what could have been our last game gets cancelled. Your last game should be one where you walk off the court knowing for sure it’s over. Who knows if we would have won that game, won two more after it and even made the NCAA Tournament. We’ll never know for sure. It was such shock to me. I’m still in disbelief about it, but I am doing my best to deal with it.”
While the end wasn’t what Hall or anybody else wanted, she didn’t disappoint on the Division I stage.
She played regularly as a freshman, before playing in all 30 Blue Hose games as a sophomore —starting 29 and playing 33 minutes per tilt while scoring 20-plus points on four occasions.
As a junior, en route to earning all-Big South Honorable Mention honors, she made 30 starts in 31 appearances, averaging a team-leading 35 minutes.
She scored 12.4 points per game with three assists and a steal-and-a-half, as well as connecting on a Big South-best 41.5-percent (61-of-147) of her three-point attempts.
She scored in double figures in 17 consecutive games and in 23 total, and tallied 20-plus points five times and tied the program’s D-I record with 30 points in a road win at the College of Charleston.
Her seven three-pointers at Hampton in the same season also tied a program record, as she paced the Blue Hose in scoring 13 times, assists 14 times and steals 12 times.
As a senior, she started all 30 games and averaged 30 minutes, 7.2 points and 2.3 assists —finishing in double figures in eight games.
With eight points in a home victory over South Carolina-Upstate on Jan. 25, she reached the 1,000-point plateau —and canned her 200th three-pointer against High Point exactly a month later.
Against the College of Charleston in November, she grabbed a career-high in rebounds with 10.
New Boston boys basketball coach Adam Cox, who coached Hall’s fifth-and-sixth grade South Webster-based club, labeled her as “the best guard I’ve ever coached”.
She was one of the best Lady Jeeps of all time, earning all-Ohio honors all four years —as South Webster won a share of the Southern Ohio Conference Division II championship with Wheelersburg her senior campaign (2015-16).
With Hall playing a key role for head coach Kristie Johnson, South Webster was Division IV district runner-up twice (2013 and 2014) and district champion twice (2015 and 2016) —before losing to Waterford in the OHSAA postseason tournament all four times.
While Hall hasn’t played a basketball game since March 10, she hasn’t seen her middle-school students since the day before that.
The Big South Tournament was that week in March, and schools in South Carolina —like in Ohio —have been out of in-person session since March 16.
Presbyterian College closed its campus as well, as Hall has been back in South Webster since — while working towards completing coursework and obtaining her degree.
“I haven’t had time to think about basketball or much else. I’ve been busy writing eight to 10 papers and the last one is due Saturday (April 25),” she said.
Hall said the college is actively attempting at holding an on-campus in-person graduation ceremony, which was originally scheduled for May 9 — but may take place in either late summer or early fall.
“They are sending out our diplomas May 9, and trying to put together a plan for a formal graduation,” she said. “It’s all been so challenging and weird.”
Hall wouldn’t mind returning to campus for graduation, as she has her hopes on settling in the Carolinas or even eastern Tennessee.
“There is a lot of opportunity there and I’ve really come to love the Carolinas,” she said. “I can definitely see that for me in the future.”
But she didn’t completely rule out returning to basketball, and wasn’t running a sprint to decide upon it either.
“Growing up, I thought about playing overseas or some way continuing my career after college. But I’ve battled injuries, and it’s been tiring and taxing at times. There were times I didn’t think about continuing. But I am still not saying I am 100-percent done,” said Hall. “I haven’t taken a break from basketball since I was nine years old. Part of me doesn’t know what to do without it. But I’m not in a hurry right now to decide.”
Her education career appears to be in her immediate future, as she presumably and quietly resumed her final paper which was due on Saturday.
It was much like her athletic and academic career at PC, which was —quite frankly —fantastic.
Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @BoggsSports © 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved