Pekin swells with pride after Eastern High School girls basketba - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Pekin swells with pride after Eastern High School girls basketball team wins state championship

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A high school girls basketball team from Pekin, Indiana, etched its place in history by winning the state 2A championship.

The success of the Eastern High School girls team comes at a time of year when their community needs good news the most. This week marks the fifth anniversary of the March 2 tornado which cut a path of destruction through the small southern Indiana town. 

"It's been the most amazing experience I've ever had," team captain Taylor Drury said. 

The girl's win was no easy layup. The team started the season 8-7, not even on track to make the playoffs. 

Coach Mike McBride said the team's passion helped turn the season around.

Drury and her teammates netted a 15-game win streak and battled back in the championship game at Baker's Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis on Saturday to defeat higher ranked Oak Hill High School, 42-31.

"It's so amazing," Drury sobbed after the game. "I'm so happy right now."

Three days later, she said reality still hadn't quite set in on the accomplishment

Similar signs of pride beamed throughout the Pekin community Monday. Fans and parents draped light posts and door placards with the school colors: purple and gold. Business marques read "Congrats Lady Musketeers" and "Pekin Pride." A donor paid for a giant state championship banner to hang in the school gymnasium commemorating the win. 

"Small town, heroic story," said Beth Prather, a community member. "These girls have done an amazing job."

Coach McBride said this is first state championship for any sport, at any school, anywhere in Washington County.

"Oh, so proud proud of them, you wouldn't believe," said Patricia Freeman, a Washington County resident. 

For junior forward Olivia Pickerill, it comes at just the right time. 

The March 2, 2012, tornado shredded her home and killed an entire family from Pekin. 

"Whenever we go past where it was, we remember it more," Pickerill said. 

Pekin is a town of only about roughly 1,300 people. It's so small that, often times, neighbors feel like family. They celebrate wins and losses of every kind together. The Lady Musketeers have changed the story in the community at a typically solemn time of year, changing the tenner in town from sadness to pride. 

"The fact that it is close to the anniversary of the tornado is ironic," Coach McBride said. "But I think it just brings some additional joy to the memory and experience that we've had."

Eastern High School is graduating four seniors this year. Drury is the only one going on to play in college. She's made the team at the University of Indianapolis. 

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