Holland sisters reflect on a year together on the court


Sisters Marnae and Markayla Holland were excited to be able to play together for the first time in their basketball careers as part of the Shawnee State Women’s Basketball program.

Marnae, who graduated last spring with a Bachelor’s in Management and is now working towards another degree in Accounting, decided to take her fifth year when she learned her sister was wanting to attend SSU.

“Before, I was on the border about playing another year,” she said. “I was trying to figure out what life after school was going to be for me, and when she told me she was wanting to go to Shawnee, I was like ‘Well, okay—I’m playing another year.’ Also, Coach Burroughs plays such a huge part in our lives, he really influenced me as well.”

“We would be able to play together for the first time in our basketball careers,” said Markayla. “Basketball has always been a priority in both of our lives. We’ve played it our entire life. Also, family is a big priority to us. Now, that we can merge those together—that’s huge to us.”

Markayla is thankful to have her sister at school with her to eliminate the uneasiness of being a freshman in college. Together, Marnae was able to guide and support Markayla through her first year, and she now feels confident for her next three years after Marnae graduates.

Both Holland sisters feel it has been an amazing experience to play together. On the team, they learned to reevaluate their relationship to navigate being teammates in addition to sisters.

“We’ve gotten closer for sure,” said Markayla. “It’s brought a lot of respect for each other.”

“We’re able to critique each other without any animosity or resentment,” said Marnae. “We have definitely gained a lot of respect for each other.”

As their season wrapped up and Marnae looks toward graduation this spring, Markayla shared her admiration and advice for her sister moving forward.

“Always be a leader and continue to be yourself,” she said. “You’ve gone so far here, and your loyalty shows. You have a lot of characteristics that I feel a lot of people could learn from you. You’re a great role model and I’m just so excited to see where you go.”

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