For Gabby Casey, it was just motivation.
As a sophomore, Lansdale’s Catholic wing earned second-team all-state honors in Class 4A after averaging 19.7 points per game and nearly 10 rebounds per game, impressive stats worthy of a place on this list.
To some, it was perhaps more impressive that Casey did it for a team that was just 2-11 when they regularly drew the bulk of every opponent’s defensive attention.
For Casey, it was the motivation to be better, but also to show that the Crusaders were a good team and not just a player who tried hard while losing.
So far, the junior is doing both for 10-3 Lansdale Catholic, but the Quakertown resident knows she can do even more.
“This award really kicked my brain up a notch and I wanted to work even harder to keep improving so that when it comes time to go to college I can go out and play,” said Casey. “This year we have new players and everyone who came back, we all wanted to step it up even more.”
Casey has been in tears all season, with her teammates following suit, starting with Tournament MVP honors at the Jim Church Classic in Souderton to open the campaign and most recently MaxPreps/WBCA Player of the Week honors after. averaging 32 ppg, 10 rpg and eight steals per game in wins over Bonner-Prendie, West Catholic and Neshaminy, including a new career high of 36 over West Catholic.
More important than the numbers are the wins. After starting his LC career as the third wheel of a fairly successful team that was preparing for a PIAA 4A Tournament quarter-final when the COVID-19 pandemic ended the season, Casey and the Crusaders endured a tough 2020-21 campaign, with six of their games against eventual state champions Archbishop Wood, Cardinal O’Hara and West Catholic, as well as four against PCL powers Archbishop Carroll and Neumann – Goretti.
Casey is now the leader, both from a statistical point of view but also from the point of view of taking charge of the team as co-captain, but she hasn’t had to carry the load alone. . Sophomore Olivia Boccella has become a more consistent scoring option beyond her 3-point shot, senior Lauren Edwards is playing her best basketball, and freshmen Sanyiah Littlejohn and Nadia Yemola have helped round out the starting lineup with other players like Sam McHugh and Ali Johns, a transfer from North Penn, giving the team some depth.
“Even with all the new people, we get along really well,” Casey said. “We share the ball, we want to win, so we’re all doing everything we can to achieve that and keep our hearts on the floor.”
LC coach Eric Gidney echoed the idea that the team’s overall improvement trickled down to Casey’s elevation. Teams can’t just focus on his save, which has allowed Casey to continue scoring at a high pace, but also expand his energy and roles in rebounding, defense and, most importantly, finding his way. voice as a leader.
“A lot of it comes down to her leadership, recognizing what her teammates need from her and where she can help them,” Gidney said. “Then defensively she was on another level. Even rebounding seems almost silly because she’s always been almost a double-digit rebounder, but playing the quality of defense she’s going to and still getting the amount of boards not just defensive is a different level.
Casey, who plays on the AAU Tour with the Philly Belles, wants to be an all-around scorer and has put in a lot of work to complete her offensive game. She noted that as a freshman she only shot 9% from the 3-point line and tried to refine her shot so she didn’t have to rely on strength alone. or his athleticism to get baskets.
She also rose to the challenge defensively, adding that if she is able to lock down her player and force turnovers, it only makes things easier offensively and provides chances to get easy looks on her teammates.
As she shares the role of captain with Edwards and senior Erin Clark, Casey tries to better master the responsibilities that come with that title.
“It’s still something I have to work on,” Casey said. “I do my best to pump them up and everything, but I always feel like I have to do a little more just to get everyone confident for our bigger games.”
Casey’s competitive nature and aggressive style came from his battles at home growing up with his older brother Jimmy. Jimmy, who stood out for two years in football and basketball at LC after transferring from Quakertown, played football last fall at Peddie School and accepted a favorite offer to play football at Florida State University.
The siblings went at it in everything from the mini basketball hoop in Gabby’s bedroom to Xbox games to Gabby joining Jimmy and his friends to play football, baseball, basketball or whatever. what they could think of. While Gabby said Jimmy always seems to have the right advice and always insists her teammates are involved and included, she’s always looking for a chance to outdo her older brother.
“He’s a really big role model for me,” Casey said. “I will support him in anything but I still want to go out there and be better than him in everything. It’s always been a competition between us, but it’s a good competition that drives us both.
Junior’s strong game, this game, is also beginning to attract more college attention. Casey received an offer from Delaware on Friday, adding to the one she already had from Manhattan and it looks like many more will follow in the coming months.
“I remember when I got my first call, I was shaking, I was in my room pacing, but I got a little more confident,” Casey said. “It’s definitely easier to talk to the coaches.”
LC are currently 3-0 in the PCL, which has moved away from its two-division setup and returned to a full league roster, but the schedule is packed with games against Wood, Carroll, O’Hara and NG . home stretch. It’s a tough stretch against teams the Crusaders struggled with last year, but Casey can’t wait for his team to show it’s not last year anymore.
It’s all about motivation and even a good start to the season hasn’t dampened his desire to keep improving.
“I’m in the gym most days with my trainer, she only wants the best for me and pushes me, like all the trainers here at Lansdale Catholic do. I’m really grateful to them,” Casey said. “It’s really important that we support each other in the team, but also that we keep pushing each other. It’s time for us to really focus and that starts with being more competitive with each other.