Bureau County has never produced a state champion in basketball before.
The 1986 Ohio Bulldogs and 1997 and 1998 Hall Red Devils came close with second-place finishes. The 1955 Princeton Tigers placed fourth in the one class system and the Bureau Valley Storm brought home three straight third-place finishes from 2000-02.
The little town of Mineral on the western edge of Bureau County brings home the first in the form of Megan Foes.
The senior starting guard from Mineral was a big time contributor for Annawan’s 1A state championship run.
She averaged 10.2 points, 4 steals, 4 rebounds and 3 assists a game. Those numbers came playing for a state champion which included two other AP All-State picks in Celina VanHyfte and Cierra Davis.
She was named as a first-team Lincoln Trail All-Conference selection and recognized with Fourth Team IBCA All-State and All-State Honorable Mention honors.
She is now the 2013-14 BCR Player of the Year.
Annawan coach Jason Burkiewicz, who played for Hall’s second state runner-up team, said his Bravettes couldn’t have done it without her.
“She has truly been a joy for me and Annawan fans to watch on the court over the years. As a coach, however, I always remember the things people don’t often see,” he said. “Megan is all character. She led the charge when it came to unselfish play. She held players accountable in practice for doing their part. She was a sweetheart off the court and in between whistles, but when the ball was in play, she had an attitude. The attitude every coach loves to see.
“Megan knew that when you stepped onto the court there was going to be a winner and a loser and from the opening tip to the very last buzzer she was going to work as hard as she could to make sure her team came out the winner.”
Mineral High School closed her doors in May of 1961 and sent their students to Annawan in the fall. Mineral has continued to send quality athletes to AHS over the years and Foes is the latest to make the 4.4 mile, eight-minute trip each day on Route 6.
“I feel like she lives right next door to all of them. I don’t think it separates us at all that I live in a different town or anything. It’s three towns that make up Annawan and we just come together and have fun,” Foes said.
And fun they did in bringing back the first state championship of any sports to Annawan, a town well known for its strong sense of pride and tradition for its sports programs.
“It’s definitely started to sink in, but I don’t think I will fully feel it until a few years down the road and when I say, ‘Oh yeah, we did do that,’” she said. “In third grade, we set this goal for ourselves that we wanted to win state one day and we did it. .... It definitely took a lot of hard work and dedication and some great coaches and the community backing us long the way.”
Foes also leaves with a lot satisfaction with how her year went individually.
“I put a lot of hard work and it seemed like it paid off. All of us put in what we needed to do and then we put our skills together, which ultimately ended with a state championship,” she said.
The one night that Foes really seemed to put everything together came at the State Farm Classic in Bloomington, when she sank eight 3-point shots against Brimfield. The night’s still kind of a blur to her.
“I was talking to my mom and dad after that night and I don’t remember how it happened. I was just hot that night and my teammates kept passing me the ball, and I was open. So I shot,” she said.
She another record-setting performance when she had nine steals in each state tournament game, using her ball-hawking efforts to help the Bravettes. Foes was the benefactor of the Bravettes’ vaunted 1-2-2 press.
“Everybody on our team makes stuff happen for everybody else. If they’re not the ones getting recognized, they’re surely the ones helping the others get recognized,” she said, noting how her team’s unselfish play was the secret to their success.
Foes is one of several basketball players moving on to softball, where there is promise for more success.
“I think we’ll go farther than a lot of people expect,” said Foes.
An ace pitcher, Foes will be taking her talents to play softball for Illinois Central College in East Peoria next year and looking forward to what the future holds for her there.
“I’m gonna miss basketball and volleyball and my teammates from Annawan a lot. The future’s really bright. It seems like a great organization just like Bravette basketball here,” she said.
She will bring that winning attitude with her.
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