BANGOR, Maine — The Shead (Eastport, Maine) girls basketball advanced to the class D state championships next weekend with a 44-37 win against Central Aroostook (Mars Hill) on Saturaday.
But for one player, what meant the most to her was who was watching in the stands.
For junior Holly Preston, seeing her father — who’s currently stationed at an army base in Pennsylvania — was the best gift she could’ve gotten.
“It was the biggest surprise ever. It’s great to have him here. I’ve always dreamed of winning it with my dad,” said Holly.
Her father, Dean, is currently stationed at the Army War College at the Carlisle Barracks in Pennsylvania. He’s pursuing his dream career, but when he heard his daughter was living her dreams on the court, he found a way to be there to watch his little girl.
“Obviously, we have to stay there. There’s not a release. But I got a special situation where I could travel here just for today. So I traveled here this morning and I’ll leave this evening,” Dean said Saturday.
A seven-hour plane ride and multiple transfers later, he could cheer on his favorite player in person.
“For her and me, it’s important,” he said.
Holly’s father used to be the coach of the Tigerettes.
“He still coaches me either way. He coaches me from the bench, he coaches me from the bleachers,” she said.
Even a short visit is a special one, no matter the distance.
“I am really lucky,” said Holly.
Shead plays Rangeley in the state championships next Saturday at the Augusta Civic Center.
Holly is hoping her father will be there again to watch her lead the team to victory.