032019_MNS_Sports_AOTW_Jillian_Hollingshead_002 Jillian Hollingshead

Holy Innocents’ girls basketball player Jillian Hollingshead (35) attempts a layup in a game against Paideia earlier this season. / Special-Holy Innocents’ Athletics

Holy Innocents’ girls basketball team brought home the Georgia High School Association (GHSA) Class A Private state championship with a 75-48 victory over Wesleyan in Macon March 7.

Leading the charge was sophomore post player Jillian Hollingshead, who had a game-high 25 points and 10 rebounds in the victory for a double-double.

“A lot of people doubted us but we played our game of basketball and it went our way,” she said. “I saw that the inside was open and I’m a little bit taller than everyone else. I used my strength to the team’s advantage. It’s been good and we worked really hard as a young team. We have to keep pushing because we can do it together.”

It was the program’s third state title overall and first since 2015. The Golden Bears won the Region 5A championship, were the top overall seed in the state playoffs and defeated Greenforest, Mount Paran Christian, Calvary Day and Wesleyan during that tournament.

“Our team loved each other well and was committed to the success of the team first,” Golden Bears head coach Nichole Dixon said. “They didn’t care who got the credit, they just wanted to see the team be successful.”

Holy Innocents’ featured a young roster in 2018-19 with no seniors and only three juniors.

Jada (Farrell) and the rest of the upperclassmen have been really good role models and helped prepare us this season,” Hollingshead said. “We all know each other’s strengths and how to play together against opponents.”

She has been attending Holy Innocents’ since her freshman year and began playing basketball in the fourth grade.

“When I first started playing, I was looking for something to do,” she said. “My parents played and through the years I started to like it more and more.”

Hollingshead, the daughter of James Hollingshead and niece of Jackie Pierce, lists NBA player Kevin Durant and WNBA players Brittney Griner and Candace Parker as her favorite athletes.

Off the court, she a member of several organizations at Holy Innocents’ including Build Student Unity; the BBQ Club, which helps cook out for school events; and the Send-a-Smile Club, which delivers handcrafted, personal and caring messages to children in hospitals around the world, including Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Hollingshead lists chemistry as her favorite subject and has A’s and B’s for grades

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