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Delta basketball star Presley Holweg taking talents to Mineral Area College

Delta senior Presley Holweg officially signed a national letter of intent with Mineral Area College to continue her basketball career on April 19. Pictured in the front row from left to right: Tammy Below (grandmother), Kendall Holweg (sister), Presley Holweg and Sam Below (grandfather). Back row: Shelby Holweg (sister), Cassie Eichhorn (sister), Lydia Menz (aunt) and Weston Menz (cousin). Photo by Nick McNeal

Following a high school career where she led the Delta Bobcats girls basketball team to two Class 1 Final Four appearances and a combined record of 103-14 overall, Presley Holweg is now set to play at the next level.

Holweg will do so for the next two years at Mineral Area College, which is located a little over an hour north in Park Hills. The Cardinals went 77-40 overall the last four seasons, finishing 25-5 this past winter.

Along with its success, MAC usually sends at least one or multiple players off to a four-year university to continue their playing career every season. Former Saxony Lutheran Crusader Masyn McWilliams recently followed this path and it led to her play at the Division-I level for SIU Edwardsville and then Lindenwood.

“I’m really excited — I didn’t think I was going to go play anywhere,” Holweg said. “I had a few offers, but I only toured MAC, and when I went there, I just fell in love with it. I fell in love with the coaches, and the people there.

“When I went there, they talked about how the community supports them, so it will be like what I had at Delta. I’m really excited to go there and continue that. Then hopefully after two years, I can go play somewhere else.”

Even though she only stands at 5-foot-6, Holweg has more than proved herself during her time at Delta as someone who is more than capable of having success at the college level.

Presley was a two-time all-state selection and finished her career as the Bobcats all-time leader in steals (436), deflections (389) and free throws made (384). Along with that, Holweg amassed 1,500 career points with 1,558, and she also hauled in a total of 641 rebounds and dished out 388 assists.

“She’s one of the best to ever play at Delta,” Bobcats head coach David Heeb said. “But more important than the wins and her stats is the example she set for all the girls that are going to follow her. She is one of the toughest, hardest working kids I’ve ever coached.”

One could probably track Presley gaining that toughness back to when she first started playing basketball in the second grade. At first, there were not enough girls in Holweg’s class to field a team, so she would have to play with the boys instead until fifth grade.

“Playing with the boys, I did realize I played a lot more aggressive than some people — some people liked it and some people didn’t,” she laughed. “I think it really helped me because with my size I’ve got to be aggressive.”

In her final season, Holweg helped Delta break its single-season wins record as the team finished 30-2 overall. The Bobcats took third at this year’s Class 1 Final Four as they beat Liberty (25-7) 61-57 in the third-place game after falling to state runner-up Cairo (26-6) 64-55 in the state semifinals.

Even though Delta fell to Cairo, it had beaten two other state runner-up teams during the regular season in Class 4 Park Hills Central (27-5) and Class 2 Principia (23-8) by scores of 66-57 and 71-60, respectively.

Along with that, the Bobcats also won every regular-season tournament they played in, which included becoming First State Community Bank Holiday Classic Champions for the first time in school history. Delta beat Class 3 Saxony (19-9) 52-45 for the championship.

Presley finished with averages of 15.6 points, 6.6 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 4.3 steals per game to be named Class 1 All-State for the second season in a row following the year.

Earning all-state honors with Holweg was fellow senior and three-time all-state selection senior Addison Nichols (20.8 points, 5.4 rebounds, four assists and 3.8 steals per game) and first-time all-state selection junior Jade Berry (18.2 PPG, 5.7 APG, 5.1 SPG and 4.1 RPG).

Even though she wasn’t an all-state selection, another crucial component to the Bobcats this season was senior Mya Gillespie, who signed to play college basketball as well at Division-III Dubuque. She produced 11.3 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game this year.

“I would have liked to have gone to state three times, but we still made it to the quarterfinals the two years we didn’t go,” Holweg said. “Going to state two years — most teams don’t even win a district title — I’m really honored to be able to do that.”

All of this success over the course of Holweg’s career has also helped put Delta on the map for girls basketball in the state of Missouri. Local fans can also spot someone like Presley in public, even when she’s working a shift at Cracker Barrel.

“People know who we are — I work at Cracker Barrel, and I have people know who I am, but I don’t even know who they are,” she laughed. “I’m like, ‘Oh, right!’ I feel like it means a lot to all of us.”

By becoming a college athlete herself, Presley is also following in the footsteps of her older sister and former Bobcat all-state basketball player Kendall Holweg. Kendall is currently in her second year with the Southeast Missouri State women’s track and field team, which just won the Ohio Valley Conference Outdoor Championship.

Presley and Kendall both played together on Delta’s high school team for two seasons when Presley was an underclassman. The Holweg sisters led the Bobcats to a 27-2 record and a Class 1 state runner-up finish.

“My sister, she had a rough first year when she was a freshman,” Presley said. “We just kept working, and we got in the gym a lot and would do summer ball. [Coach Heeb] would always offer to open the gym if we wanted to come shoot.

“Being able to see her succeed in college sports made me feel like maybe I can do it, too. Hopefully I can.”

Nick McNeal covers high school sports, college sports and community events for The Cash-Book Journal. He graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a degree in multimedia journalism and has lived in Cape Girardeau County for the past five years. He can be reached at cbjsports@socket. net.

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