- Associated Press - Friday, February 13, 2015

SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) - A day after he brought fans to their feet and tears to their eyes while playing in the first varsity basketball game of his career, Billy Foster continued to stand on top of the world.

Known more for being the Scranton team manager and inspirational leader, the senior was the toast of the school Wednesday after scoring eight fourth-quarter points Tuesday in the Knights’ loss to Abington Heights.

Foster has Apert Syndrome, a congenital disorder characterized by malformations of the skull, face, hands and feet. But he led the Knights in scoring for the game, stealing the show and uplifting his teammates’ spirits.

“It was awesome,” Foster said Wednesday at practice. “I loved it. It was so special.”

Foster has endured several surgeries as part of his treatment. But through it all, he dreamed of playing in a varsity basketball game.

Even before he made his debut, he served as a loyal and dedicated member of the team, always there to support the Knights.

In the fourth quarter, with Abington Heights enjoying a comfortable lead, Scranton coach Tony Battaglia called on Foster to enter the final home game of his final season.

“We are really happy for Billy,” Battaglia said. His playing “made it a special night for the whole Scranton Knights program.”

He hustled and played full speed. He executed perfectly a play that coach Battaglia called out. He pressed on defense, had a steal and layup and gave his team a lift in what has been an otherwise frustrating and injury-filled 7-14 season.

“Billy has always been an amazing kid,” his father, Bill, said. “He’s not a quitter, and he has always received great support from his sisters, Kayla, Lynn, Theresa, Shawna, Alicia and Lacey.

“I was kidding with him that, maybe, he should have played more, because he was the leading scorer.”

When his first basket dropped through after several tries off an assist from Cody Miller, his teammates leaped off the bench and gave Foster a rousing ovation that seemingly lasted until the final buzzer of the game.

“Billy has been with us for the last four years, and he has been a brother to all of us,” Knights senior Kris Lepka said. “He is so special to me. He is an inspiration to us all. To have him come out and play in front of a big crowd, we knew that it was special for him.”

At Wednesday’s practice, Foster was back at work as the manager. He sneaked into some drills, smiling for every second.

He took some time to knock down a few more jumpers with teammates, and was still getting hugs for all that he has meant to the program in the last four years, and for the memory he gave them all to treasure for a lifetime.

“I always wanted him to get into a game, and for him to score eight points against Abington Heights, is just the best,” said Miller, who is one of Foster’s close friends. “He is family, so he is so special to me. We are just so happy that he played, and he really enjoyed it.”

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Online: https://bit.ly/1B1VkOL

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Information from: The Times-Tribune, https://thetimes-tribune.com/


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