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Women's basketball: W.Va. State guard Holestine rediscovers her passion for hoops

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The latest addition to the West Virginia State women's basketball team has been living with deep regret for a long time.

Six years to be exact.

Brittany Holestine, the former George Washington High School star began her final semester of college eligibility on Jan. 14 in a game at Fairmont State.

She finished as runner-up for the state's player of the year award in 2005, and with her 1,843 career points, remains the career leader at GW.

However, despite her accolades, her post high school career took a turn for the worse.

Holestine signed with Ohio University, but transferred to West Virginia after Bobcats Coach Lynn Bria resigned her position.

After playing in just six games in 2006, she transferred to Fairmont State, but played in only two games for the Falcons in 2007.

Holestine decided to hang it up, and often has wondered what could have been.

"What if I had played at Ohio?" Holestine said. "That's the one thing in my 25 years that I wake up everyday and think about. Everything else is water under the bridge but that's the one thing I wish I had done.

"I feel like if I had stayed there, it still would have been a smaller D-I and I would have played more. Coach Bria had known me since I was in eighth grade. That what if, the possibilities would have been endless, and it eats at me everyday."

Holestine stepped away from the game of basketball, thinking her career was over and for six years, it was. However, she's been enrolled and taking classes at West Virginia State, and an opportunity presented itself.

With a small roster and several injuries, through intermediaries, Holestine inquired about joining the team. First-year Coach David Smith welcomed her.

"It gives us another body, which we need badly," Smith said. "It's good for her, and we are glad to have her. It's really unfair for her because she has been away so long, and only been practicing for a few weeks. She has that potential and can put points on the board in a hurry."

After six years away from the court, Holestine has been working out, dressing for the first time against the University of Charleston on Jan. 12, but did not play.

The 5-foot-9 guard, though, finally made her long awaited comeback two days later at Fairmont State. She played eight minutes and scored three points.

"I was nervous but it felt great," Holestine said. "I hadn't really played in seven years. The nerves were there but I was excited. I didn't know what to expect because these girls are three to five years younger than I am. The feeling was indescribable.

Holestine has played in all of State's three games since, including a 17-point, eight-rebound performance in 19 minutes against Glenville State.

Holestine admitted getting back in basketball shape has been an issue.

"Every day is a struggle, I'm not going to lie," Holestine said. "I'm sore all the time. The in-shape part is rough to deal with right now but the soreness is getting easier and the lungs are coming back."

Holestine indicated she partly stepped away due to losing passion for the game.

"For the first time in seven years, I have that feeling back," Holestine said. "After I left high school, in my heart, it wasn't the same. I couldn't get the same feel for it like high school.

"I didn't think I was going to get to play a lot at WVU. At Fairmont, it didn't feel right to me. I look at it a whole lot different now. This feels more like home."

Even though this is only Holestine's fourth semester playing, it is her 10th collegiate semester - making it her last in eligibility.

"I figured I was here at school, so why not play basketball while I still can," Holestine said. "It means a lot to me, especially because my family can come and watch me. Morgantown and Fairmont just didn't work out for me."

Holestine will always look back fondly on her career at GW, though, especially her senior year in 2005.

She averaged 21 points, seven rebounds, six assists, and four steals per game, and was named the Daily Mail Kanawha/Putnam County Player of the Year. Holestine went to the State Tournament for the first time before the Patriots lost in the semifinals.

Holestine remains the only female player in the history of the MSAC Night of Champions to win the overall championship of the 3-point shootout, beating Hurricane's J.J. Jones in 2005.

"He and I actually played against each other in All-Stars," Holestine said. "He gave me a hard time and came up to me at half court and said, 'I'm going to get ya.' I said, 'No, I'm going to get you.' The rest is history. That meant a lot to me."

Holestine's greatest basketball memory, though, is when GW hung her banner in the school's gymnasium, recognizing her career at the school.

"When they hung the banner on the wall, that was pretty cool and means the world to me. I don't have the words for it. I thought I brought a lot to GW. It was a great career for me."


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