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NORMAL — Abby Feit posted stellar statistics on behalf of the Normal Community High School girls basketball team this season.

Numbers, however, are far from what Coach Marcus Mann will miss most about the Pantagraph Player of the Year.

"It's the intangible things," Mann says, "the way she carries herself. She's the humble leader that we need. She's going to be irreplaceable as far as her personality.

"She was the girl that kids wanted to be around all the time, before practice, after practice, on the weekends. Abby is the kind of person that brings people together."

A 6-foot-1 forward who will play for Evansville next year, Feit averaged 14.1 points while shooting .574 from the field and .736 from the free throw line.

Besides leading the 23-10 Iron in scoring, Feit led the way in rebounds (7.1), steals (1.2) and blocks (0.9). She also averaged 1.3 assists en route to all-Big 12 Conference first team honors for the third straight year.

Feit helped NCHS go a combined 77-26 the past three years. When Mann thinks about her season, he's only disappointed in one thing.

"The only bad thing about it is it's over and we won't get her back," said Mann, whose star finished with 1,225 career points. 

As good as Feit was offensively, she was almost as good on defense where she committed just 28 fouls in 33 games.

"She's a pretty savvy player," Mann said. "I can't remember anytime throughout the season when we had to sit her down because of foul trouble. She was the type of cerebral player where she was in the right place most of the time and avoided those silly fouls."

Mann considers Feit especially good at playing off-the-ball defense.

"As a post defender she's really strong, but definitely I would say she's more skilled offensively and it's natural for her to be a scorer," he said. "She's definitely got the potential in college to be a great defender." 

Feit said avoiding foul trouble means avoiding the urge to reach.

"In the post, I focus a lot on keeping my hands up and not reaching in and fouling and bailing them out," she said.  

Among Feit's strongest showings was a 22-point effort during a Class 4A sectional semifinal loss to No. 2-state ranked Rock Island. 

"Individually, Abby did everything we needed her to do to will us to be competitive in that game," Mann said. "Without Abby, that game could have become ugly." 

Afterward, Feit felt a void.

"It was definitely strange to go home right after school," she said. "I think as a team we had a good season."

Against foes unfamiliar with NCHS, the left-handed Feit was especially dangerous. 

"She can finish with her right (hand) as well," said Mann, who credits junior point guard Maya Wong, an Illinois State recruit, for helping Feit shine.

"They were a one-two punch. Neither would have been as good without the other."

Feit can't imagine her career without Wong.

"We've played together since I was in seventh grade and she was in sixth grade," Feit said. "We always joke around that she probably has over 1,000 assists to me."

Mann won't be surprised if Feit sees playing time early in her career at Evansville, which struggled through a 4-26 season.

"She wanted to find a fit where she could go in and compete for a starting job right away," he said. "I think she found that at Evansville."

Feit's presence at NCHS impacted attendance thanks to the "Feit Club," a group of about 30 family members and friends who cheered for her and the Iron.

"She'll definitely go down as one of the best players I've had the opportunity to coach," Mann said. "I'm definitely going to miss having her around, not only on the court, but in the hallways being a great part of the student body."

Feit has already resumed workouts to prepare for next season. She wants to improve her ballhandling, shooting and on-the-ball defense before she goes to Evansville in June to train with a young squad that will surely benefit from a humble leader who can bring people together.

Contact Randy Sharer at (309) 820-3405. Follow him on Twitter: @PG_sharer

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Reporter for Lee Enterprises Central Illinois.

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