The athletic building had everything.
Kayla Bradby is a senior at Penn Charter High School, and as a three-sport star, she spends a lot of time in the school’s athletic building.
The walls of the facility were covered in all kinds of Inter-Ac championship banners.
Football, boys basketball, soccer, baseball, softball, whatever sport the Quakers offer was up there. But girls basketball was missing.
“Last year we came so close, but the year was shortened, and we tied Notre Dame, so we weren’t the champs, and no banner,” said Bradby, a guard from Morrell Park. “We came in second two years ago, so we really wanted to do it, we knew we could do it, we just wanted to make sure we were able to do it.”
Penn Charter knocked off Episcopal 63-32 to outright win the Inter-Ac championship, ending the season with just one loss in the always-tough division.
They had plenty of talent, including leading scorer, junior Aleah Snead, who lives in Oxford Circle. And their talent certainly played a role in this year’s success, but it’s not the main thing Bradby points to when she talks about the reason for the great year.
“I would definitely say our team chemistry is what helps us,” Bradby said. “I have never been on a team like this, we are all super close, ready to work, always working our hardest. Before the season started, we talked about our goals, and every one of us want to get the first banner in our school.
“We play for each other. We all really get along so well. We have a lot of good players, but our chemistry was great.”
Bradby was happy to do her part to help, both on the court and off it.
A star soccer player, Bradby is a role player in basketball. Sometimes she’s asked to score. Other times she’s ask to defend. Whatever the team needs from her, she’s happy to do. This year, that role was as a sixth man, which was cool by her.
“I would do whatever we needed this year, I knew my role, and I tried to play that role,” Bradby said. “Sometimes I came in and covered the other team’s best player. Sometimes I just helped by being the loudest player on the bench. I knew the starters definitely deserved to be there. They were great. I was happy to come off the bench.”
For a lot of great athletes, taking a secondary role isn’t easy, but that’s what made this Quakers team so special.
“I like being a leader on this team because there weren’t a lot of seniors,” Bradby said. “Only one senior starts, but I think we had a big impact on the team. I think the seniors made sure we had good chemistry. This year we knew it was our year to step up and come together. We did a good job of that, and I think we needed that.”
Basketball season isn’t over for Penn Charter.
Now the team will enter the Pennsylvania Independent Schools Athletic Association tournament, which is essentially a state tournament for teams not in the PIAA.
The Inter-Ac was the first goal, but winning that is now the focus.
“This team was really special, I know coach (Joe Maguire) has helped us get to where we are,” Bradby said. “We just like playing together, so hopefully we can keep it up.”
Once the basketballs are put away, Bradby will turn her attention to lacrosse.
Penn Charter has a dynamic lacrosse program filled with players who are going on to college. Bradby is prepared to play her role in the spring sport as well.
“Lacrosse definitely isn’t my sport, but I love being a part of the team and I’ll help any way I can,” Bradby said. “We have a lot of really good players. We lost some great players last year, they’re playing in college now, but the seniors and underclassmen are ready. We’re ready to do what we have to do to make sure we have a good team. I think we’re going to be fine.”
Bradby will be fine after graduation, too.
The goal is to head to college to play soccer while majoring in biochemistry. After that, she’s leaning toward becoming an anesthesiologist.
“Science is my favorite subject, the class I got the best grades in and it’s something I’m really interested in,” Bradby said. “Some of my favorite shows deal with (medicine). And my college counselor has a friend who (is an anesthesiologist), and it sounds really interesting. It’s like her best friend so she knew everything. This year I picked my classes based on going to school for biochemistry and it’s working out well.”
She’s excited about the future. But she’ll never forget her time as a Quaker.
“I really have to shout out Penn Charter because it was the best decision I ever made,” Bradby said. “Some of my best memories are from here. Sports, friends, my coaches. It’s a great school for academics, and I love everything about it. This year has been great.”