Our Penn Kingsmen boys’ varsity basketball team managed to make their way to the Class 4A North Semistate championship, playing 30 games (regular season and playoffs combined) and won 28 of them. Through this improvement from last season (going from regional runners-up to almost making the state championship for the first time in over 20 years), it’s key to understand this: How did this happen?

Season Recap

It’s important to remember the regular season that set our Penn Kingsmen boys’ basketball team up for success, and this year is no exception. The Kingsmen went 23-1 overall, finishing their season in second-place in 4A, Penn’s only loss was to Ben Davis on neutral court, 65 to 53 on December 30th, 2022. After that loss, Penn somewhat avenged their loss by winning 17 straight games to put them in a position to go really far in the postseason. Some notable performances included Markus Burton breaking the Penn all-time scoring record against Marian (former #1 n 3A) on January 20, 2023, Penn outscoring Elkhart with over 3.6 times as much points as Elkhart on February 17th, 2023, and the team’s 2nd 94-point game (tied for most points in a game by the whole team) against Merrillville on February 24th, 2023. As for the postseason, well…


To start off Sectionals, our boys’ basketball team came home with the blowout win against Elkhart, 82 to 37 on February 28th, 2023. Penn senior Joe Smith led both teams in scoring with 26 points. The top scorer for Elkhart was senior Rodney Gates with 18 points. After a few days’ delay due to bad weather, they played Goshen in the sectional semifinal on March 4th. Penn won 55 to 37. After that win, they were set to play Northridge in the sectional championship, and to very few people’s surprise, they won, 75 to 62. That win against Northridge at the sectional championship sent them to play against the team that sent them packing in last season’s playoffs, Chesterton.


Contrary to what occurred last season, Penn beat Chesterton to win the one-game regional championship (this year has a slightly different tournament format), 60 to 57 in Michigan City. Penn was able to hold the entire Chesterton team to just nine points in the closing quarter, and this is continuing to show that their regular season record really has been giving them high expectations they continue to surpass throughout the postseason. This win is what sent them to play against #5 Hammond Central on March 18th, 2023 in the semi-state semifinal game.


Our Kingsmen ended up beating Hammond Central, 108-70 in Penn’s team highest scoring game ever in Michigan City. Later that day, they played against Kokomo. The game against Kokomo was extremely close. Nobody led by over six points at any point in the game. Both teams appeared evenly matched, but unfortunately, Kokomo ended up narrowly squeezing past us to secure their spot in the state finals, 57 to 58. If only Kokomo’s Shayne Spear would have missed those two free throws, then maybe Penn would have won! When asked about his final game (against Kokomo on 3/18/2023), reigning Indiana Mr. Basketball had this to say:

“That Kokomo game, it was … extremely fun, I mean, we didn’t win, but it was … a fun game, it was a fun environment, but … there’s always … room for improvement, and I felt like … it was meant to be, and … it was a good loss, it was nothing to hold your head down about, and props to Kokomo” (Burton 2023).

When asked if the final game he played was officiated fairly, Burton said:

“Uh, yeah, I think it was officiated fairly. We missed a couple shots, but I mean…it was a pretty good game all around” (Burton 2023)

Future Outlook

Next season’s outcome is very uncertain, though. The Penn boys’ varsity basketball team contains a lot of seniors that will be graduating in June and will not be able to play for Penn, so the team should look very different next season. Still, finishing the season in the pseudo-final four is very impressive.