The Penn varsity girls basketball team lost to Northridge in the Concord sectional on January 31st with a score of 59-52 to end their season. However, the team was able to remain positive and look back on the season as a great learning experience. 

When asked how she was feeling after the abrupt season end, senior Peyton Brooks says “It was definitely a tough loss, definitely a sad moment [and] not how we wanted to go out, but it was a respectful way to end the season.”

In regards to the entire season and team morale, senior Julia Economu adds on “I’m feeling pretty good, we had our ups and downs, but it was a great team, a great season so I’m feeling good about it.”

Allie Tessier | PNN Julia Economu (’23) turns and dribbles to the other end of the court.

Even though the girls didn’t make it to the final championship, they are still grateful for the overall experience of being on a team. Brooks says “This team has meant everything to me. I’ve been a part of the program for four years, but this team has been like no other. It feels like a family, these really feel like my sisters.”

Economu adds on, saying, “This was really about being together and just working together as a team. We lost a lot of seniors last year, so we really had to build our chemistry and work really hard at practice.”

The coach of the varsity team, Coach Ulrich, had some great accomplishments this year too. This year concludes her 15th season coaching at Penn, and her total record across those seasons is 312-50. She was named the 2023 Indiana Girls Coach. This title is no surprise, considering that she earned her 300th win at Penn this season.

This victorious milestone reaches past just her, though. In regards to this, she says, “I think it just goes back to the players and the coaches and everyone that’s been involved. You win with people, and they have helped allow this to be an achievement for our entire program.” She also mentioned how important “just being able to have the joy of being able to come to practice each and every single day and impact all of these present, future, and past players is what’s really exciting to me and just watching them be able to grow…just being able to impact all of the young ladies that we have”.

Allie Tessier | PNN Coach Ulrich is surrounded by her players as she instructs them for their next play.

It’s safe to say that Coach has definitely impacted the lives of her players, as sophomore Jessa Troy says “she’s a very good coach, and we all know [that] she knows what she’s doing, so even during practices if she’s getting on us, we know that it’s for a specific reason, and it’s only gonna make us better. Personally,  she’s impacted my life a lot. Especially being a freshman on varsity, she’s always been like a mentor and a teacher to me.”

Basketball is a way of life for this team, and Peyton Brooks makes it evident. “Basketball has really given me a home away from home, it’s just been my second life. If I’m having a hard day, just going to practice makes everything better, even if it’s a hard practice. It’s giving me another place to fit in somewhere.”

In conclusion, the girls team persevered this year with a great season. Coach Ulrich earned her 300th win and was credited with the title of 2023 Indiana Girls Coach, and has impacted the girl’s daily lives. This caused the team to grow together, on and off the court which led to a great season end.