LANSING | At first glance, T.F. South guard Ninah Bertrand doesn't look like she could battle for rebounds with 6-foot players.
At 5-5, Bertrand seems to be in the right place at the right time.
"She gets boards because she doesn't stand around at look at the shot," Rebels coach Steve Breshock said. "Ninah is thinking of where the ball is going to be and then she gets to the spot.
"She does not let her size deter her. Because she has a high basketball IQ, she knows where she has to be."
Where she has to be is running the show and encouraging her teammates, and Bertrand said she likes that role.
"I guess I am a spark plug for the team," Bertrand said. "My job as a captain is to lead and make sure everything runs smoothly on the court."
Bertrand leads the 5-1 Rebels with 16.2 points, 6.6 rebounds, 3.8 steals and 3.6 assist per game. As much as she has a nose for the game, her success also comes because she is a good athlete. She was recently voted most athletic senior female student by her classmates.
"I just try to put myself in good position whether it is for a rebound and to make a steal," Bertrand said. "I try to box out and a lot of people don't think about it, but that is a little thing that makes a big difference."
Bertrand also has put up good numbers in the classroom as she is ranked fourth in a class of 500. She is a member of the National Honor Society, and is also in the Captain's Club, for team captains.
"We try to make life better for all students at T.F. South, not just athletes," Bertrand said. "We talk about issues and we discuss more than just sports. There is also a way a student athlete should conduct his or her self."
As for her schoolwork.
"I try to be the best in everything whether it is sports or the classroom," Bertrand said. "Education was stressed to me at an early age and while sports are fun, you have to have an education."
A three-year starter and two-time captain, Breshock said he will be sorry to see Bertrand leave the program.
"She is one of my favorite captains, favorite players because of her work ethic," Breshock said. "Ninah is the first one out there and is always willing to help a teammate. She is not very vocal or a 'rah rah' type of kid, but when she calls the team together, they know it is important."