February 27, 2016

Penn Turns Away Defending Champ Columbus North for First State Crown
The third time was definitely the charm for Penn’s girls basketball program.

After Class 4A runner-up finishes in 2011 and 2014, the Kingsmen won the school’s first girls basketball title in impressive fashion, downing No. 1 and defending state champ Columbus North. The fourth-ranked Kingsmen finished a 28-2 season under Coach Kristi Ulrich by shooting 52 percent from the floor and 80 percent from the line.          

Penn bolted out to a 20-7 lead in the first quarter, but by halftime the Bulldogs had closed within 30-28. A Maliah Howard-Bass basket  49 seconds into the third quarter gave Columbus North its only lead of the game, but the Kingsmen countered with a 13-4 run that gave them a 43-35 lead. Camryn Buhr, who will play for Lehigh next season, scored eight straight points  during the run.

After a Bulldog basket, Penn then ran off the next 13 points, taking a 56-37 lead 24 seconds into the fourth quarter. The Kingsmen hit six of eight free throws in the final quarter, pushing the lead to as many as 23 points and never allowing the Bulldogs any closer than 17.

Buhr led the Kingsmen with 24 points and seven rebounds, hitting 8-12 shots from the floor and all seven foul shots. Teammate Kaitlyn Marenyi added 21 points on 7-10 shooting, including a steal and foul-line jumper as the third-quarter ended that gave her team a 17-point lead. 

Columbus North, which finished 27-2 under Coach Pat McKee, got 13 points and 12 rebounds from Imani Guy, and 11 points from Howard-Bass. But after shooting 44.8 percent from the floor during the season, but Bulldogs struggled to 32-percent shooting against the Kingsmen.

 Listen: Penn Coach Post-Game Comments | Columbus North Coach Post-Game Comments

Columbus North’s Paige Littrell named Patricia L. Roy Mental Attitude Award winner
Following the game, members of the IHSAA Executive Committee named Paige Littrell of Columbus North High School as the winner of the Patricia L. Roy Mental Attitude Award in Class 4A Girls Basketball.

The award is presented annually to a senior participant in each classification who was nominated by her principal and coach and has demonstrated excellence in mental attitude, scholarship, leadership and athletic ability.

Academically, Paige boasts a 4.12 GPA. Besides being a member of the National Honor Society and Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Paige also serves as the Student Athletic Board president. She worked as the “Event Coordinator” of the Columbus North Coaches vs. Cancer football game, as well as volunteering at youth basketball camps and Columbus Fire Department.

She is the daughter of Joday and Kim Littrell of Columbus and is undecided on her college major, while considering attending Depauw, Hanover, or Butler.

The Indiana Fever and Indiana Pacers, the presenting sponsor of the IHSAA Girls Basketball State Tournament, presented a $1,000 scholarship to Columbus North High School in the name of Paige Littrell. Since 1989, more than $840,000 in college scholarships have been presented to deserving high school athletes in Indiana.

The award is named in honor of the former IHSAA assistant commissioner Patricia L. Roy, who oversaw the girls basketball state tournament from its inception in 1976 until her retirement in 1999.