Presley Wheeler, Nazareth basketball, Jr.
On the court: Wheeler played the hero for Nazareth helping lead the Swiftettes to their unprecedented 25th UIL state championship in program history. Trailing 14-9 at the half to Huckabay in the state title game on Saturday, Wheeler caught fire scoring the first eight points for Nazareth in the third quarter to help lead the comeback. The UIL Class 1A state tournament MVP finished the game scoring nine points going 2-of-4 from beyond the arc adding three assists with two rebounds. Wheeler, who was also a strong defensive presence in the state title win, ends the season averaging 9.2 point a game with four assists per night and shot 71 percent from the free-throw line.
Coach Eric Schilling: “Presley made some big-time shots for us especially when it counted to help get us a state championship. When the ball leaves her hand there is a good chance it’s going in. She’s just such a smart player that has had to take on so many different roles for us. One thing I think gets lost when talking about her is her defense. At state, she did a great job on Neches’ leading scorer and in the Huckabay game she held one of their better scorers to 1-of-9 shooting. Presley is just one of those type players that puts in the work and will do anything to get better. She’s a gym rat and that’s paid off for her. She’s also a tremendous teammate.”
Wheeler: “Throughout the playoffs I didn’t think I’d been playing to the level I was capable of. Heading down to state my family told me just go out and play your game. So, in that third quarter against Huckabay I went out and just played to the level I knew I could. I have to credit my teammates though for the shots I was making. We just did a great job of moving the ball and they made great screens for me to come off of. I was also proud of how I played defensively. I take a lot of pride in my defense, and I do my best to not let anyone score. I’m just so glad we got this state championship. This team is so close-knit, and we’ve all wanted this since day one.”
Favorite band or musician: NF
Favorite social media platform: Instagram
Favorite athlete: Hailey Van Lith
Bet you didn’t know: She’s strong in her faith
Parents: Nathan and Elaine Wheeler.