Holenka chooses Capital to continue basketball career

Trifecta complete.

Growing up the youngest of three basketball-playing sisters in Shadyside, Hayley Holenka insists there wasn’t ever any pressure on her to succeed.

Even though her two older siblings – Ashley and Shayla – had scored more than 1,000 points during their star-studded careers on their way to NCAA Division I (Ashley, Oakland University, Mich.) and NCAA Division II (Shayla, Wheeling Jesuit) scholarships.

Midway through her senior campaign, Hayley joined her sisters in the coveted 1,000-point club. Now, she is joining them as a college basketball player.

The 5-4 shooting guard will attend Capital University in Columbus. The Crusaders are members of the NCAA Division III play in the Ohio Athletic Conference.

“I knew I wanted to play basketball in college,” Holenka admitted. “I just didn’t know where, but I’m happy that I selected Capital.”

She said she also talked with Marietta, Bethany and some with Slippery Rock.

“It wasn’t really a tough decision, but deciding the location was the difficult part,” she noted. “I like Capital because my sister (Shayla) lives in Columbus, so I’ll have someone close to talk to if I ever need some advice, instead of getting in a car and driving two hours.”

“Hayley was the heart and soul of our team,” former Shadyside head coach Tina Yates, who stepped down after last season, said.

A four-year starter, Holenka scored at a 16.9 clip her senior season for the Orange-and-Black.

In addition to her scoring prowess, she also rebounded with the best of them, played tenacious defense and wasn’t afraid to hit the floor for a loose ball.

“Hayley is an outstanding slasher on offense who finds a hole and is able to get to the basket,” Yates said. “Defensively, she usually guarded the opponents’ best guard.”

Despite her success at the high school level, Holenka knows she will have to work on certain areas of her game to be successful at the collegiate level.

“I will definitely have to work on my quickness and ball-handling skills,” she allowed.

During her illustrious career, the Tigers advanced to the Division IV Final Four as a sophomore.

“That will be a memory that I will remember forever,” she said. “I had a great four years playing for Coach Tina. I had a lot of great teammates, and that is what I’ll remember the most.”

Holenka, who will major in education, is the daughter of Mark and Lana Holenka.