SALEM, Va. -

For Maddie Price, basketball is a huge part of her life. The senior captain at Salem High School has won numerous district titles, played in state final fours and won a state championship last season.

“Basketball is a great stress reliever and all my friends play,” said Price. “The team is really close this year and maybe the closest team I’ve been able to be a part of. That’s what drives me to come out here and play.”

Maddie started playing basketball at a young age. She played for her father Dennis at both the rec and AAU level. As a freshman, she started her career at Salem on the JV team.

“Ever since you could start playing in the first grade basketball has always been [my dad’s] passion,” added Maddie. “That’s always something we’ve shared in our relationship and made it flourish.”

On December 21, 2010, Maddie got the call up from JV to the varsity team. It was also her sister McKenzie's 17th birthday. And also the day tragedy struck.

“The day of I kept asking myself, ‘Why me?’ What have I done to deserve this?”

Maddie's father, Dennis, suffered a heart attack and passed away, just four days before Christmas.

“I couldn’t really grasp the whole thought. Sometimes I still can’t,” Maddie said. “This was a defining moment in my life and I know I can’t bring my dad back.”

“She was close with her dad, so she was hurting from it,” said friend and teammate Victoria Maxwell. Maxwell added “it was cool to see how strong she was through all of it and has been an inspiration to all of us.”

When the Spartans raised the state championship last year in Richmond, Maddie knew instantly who to remember.

“As soon as the buzzer rang last year, I thought of him and the team, too. It was just all that hard work I had put in since first grade paid off.”

Throughout basketball and the rest of her life, her father's wisdom from being her basketball coach, to being a dad, will serve as her daily motivation in all she does.

“I’m just working hard on the basketball court, school and just anything that has to do with life,” added Maddie. “I know my dad wouldn’t want me to give up.”