FORT BRANCH -- One staple of every championship team is having a player who sacrifices individual stats for the betterment of the team.
Maci Foster fills that role for the Gibson Southern girls basketball team this season.
The 5-foot-5-inch scrappy guard has not scored more than seven points in any game this season.
But the defensive show stopper of the Titans has not allowed much more than seven points by any opposing player this season either.
“I am not the biggest on the offensive side of the ball, but I think I do a good job of bringing the intensity for the team on defense,” Foster said. “It feels good to see my hard work pay off and know that being able to help shut down those players has helped us. I like being able to bring something to the team in that way.”
Gibson Southern coach Kyle Brasher took over the team last April. He knew right away he had a special player in Foster.
“It didn’t take long to figure out that Maci was going to play her heart out every single night,” the first-year coach said. “But I did not know just how good she was going to be until we got into the season.”
Foster has missed a couple of practices throughout the season and also missed a game.
The Titans won that game, but Brasher noted he could tell a difference in the team.
“She just competes so hard,” Brasher said. “She brings so much energy and lifts everyone up. We missed that when she is not out there with us. She is so valuable in everything we do, night in and night out.”
Foster has not only accepted her role on the team but she has embraced it. Brasher mentioned that is not easy for young athletes when headlines are grabbed by offense.
“It is very difficult for a high school kid to buy into a role where they don’t score,” the Titans coach stated. “Usually to get all the accolades and get in the spotlight, you have to put the ball in the hoop. But Maci has sacrificed herself in those regards and she takes the assignment of guarding the other teams’ best player every night and she does a great job with it.”
Despite the starting guard only averaging 2.2 points per game on the season, the Titans are averaging just over 69 points a game -- second in the state.
Foster takes pride in helping fuel her more offensive teammates by turning up the pressure defensively.
“We want to be the more aggressive team,” Foster said. “By staying up on the ball and being in passing lanes and just being the aggressor on defense, it helps us push the ball on offense.”
Foster has recorded 61 steals on the season and has deflected 60 other passes.
Brasher admitted Foster did not take much coaching to get to her level, just one small adjustment.
“Her effort and intensity have been there since the word go, the only thing we had to work with her a little was how to not foul so much,” the Titans coach explained. “She lost some playing time in the past because of being in foul trouble. So we worked on her showing her hands more. She is too valuable to our team for her to be on the bench.”
As much as Foster enjoys being the defensive specialist, she admitted hitting a big shot would be nice as well.
“I love fulfilling this role and bringing what I can to the defense, but I think a game-winning shot would be a little more memorable since those rarely come.”
Brasher is just happy he does not have to face Foster in games.
“We are glad she is on our team and we are happy we have her here for one more year.”