Penn Basketball's Lauren Walsh is excited about her role with the Indiana All-Stars

Lauren Walsh admits she didn't have high expectations for the training that goes into making the IndyStar Indiana All-Star girls basketball team.

The Penn High School graduate definitely exceeded those expectations in the end.

Walsh, a 5-7 guard, was named to the prestigious 13-member IndyStar Indiana All-Star girls basketball team in March.

More: High school basketball: Penn's Lauren Walsh an Indiana All-Star

“I'm really excited to be part of the team and it means a lot to me, but it's still a little shocking to me,” Walsh said in a recent phone interview.

“I had low expectations before the trial and afterwards I thought that I played quite well, but that I probably wouldn't make the team. When I got the call I was like, what the hell happened? But I was incredibly excited to be selected. It’s a great group to be a part of.”

More: Kira Reynolds of Washington leads the 2024 South Bend Tribune All-Area Girls Basketball Team

Walsh did a little bit of everything in her final season for the Kingsmen. She averaged 12.5 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 3.2 steals per game. She shot 41 percent from the field and hit 44 of 130 on 3-pointers. She shot 74 percent from the line.

Penn coach Kristi Ulrich, who coached six of the eight Penn girls to make the All-Star team, says Walsh has a lot of good things to offer.

“Lauren is a very ambitious and competitive player,” said Ulrich, who went 330-57 in 15 seasons at Penn. “She is super skilled and has something special about her that sets her apart from many other players.” She is also a great teammate and excels in class. Lauren positively embodies what our program is about. And I also love how she has grown as a leader.”

Walsh helped Penn go 18-7 overall and 9-2 in the Northern Indiana Conference last season. She was a second-team All-NIC selection and a member of the Tribune's All-Area team. Walsh played the last three seasons at Penn after moving to the area from North Carolina before her sophomore year.

Walsh knows the reason she was selected to a 12-game Division I all-star group.

“They liked my defense,” Walsh said. “That’s my thing, my role. I bring energy and defense.”

Ulrich, who coached the All-Star team a year ago, says the team is getting someone who can do a lot of things well.

“Lauren’s ability to defend and get to the rim are her greatest strengths,” noted Ulrich, who led Penn to the Class 4A state championship in 2016. “She is also a great passer and her shot has improved tremendously over the years” to properly prepare her drive.

“Lauren will bring a lot of energy and encouragement to the Indiana All-Star team. I think it gives them a versatile option at point guard. She can score, is unselfish and will make the extra pass. They're going to need that too.” Defender and she's ready to lock someone down, Lauren will definitely add to the culture of what it means to be an Indiana All-Star.

Walsh, the middle of three children of parents Tim and Molly, credits several people for her success on the hardwood.

“My parents gave up so much for me,” Walsh noted. “I would also like to thank my teammates and coaches at Penn. The biggest influence was my coach Amber White in North Carolina. She’s the reason I stuck with basketball.”

Walsh, who scored 698 career points, has continued to hone her skills since the end of her season at Penn by playing for her AAU team, the Michigan Storm.

“I practiced every day and played with my AAU team on the weekends,” Walsh said.

The IndyStar All-Star team is coached by Andy Maguire of Zionsville. The squad is led by Miss Basketball Chloe Spreen from Bedford North Lawrence. The 5-10 guard, who will play at Alabama, averaged 20.3 ppg. her senior season. Spreen led BNL to the Class 4A state title in 2023.

Walsh is looking forward to Indiana playing Kentucky on June 7th and 8th, with the first game at Kentucky and the second at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. Indiana split the series last year but now leads the overall series 53-41. The All-Stars will play an exhibition game against the Indiana Junior All-Stars on June 5 in Kokomo.

“I'm competitive and I know everyone on the All-Star team is a big competitor,” Walsh said. “If we all just do what we have to do and give it our all at Kentucky, we’ll be fine. I really want to kick their ass.”

“Being one of Penn’s eight All-Stars means a lot to me. I worked hard for it and I’m just glad it was worth it.”

Anna Harden

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