By Owen McCue (@Owen_McCue)
As Germantown Academy senior Isabella Casey went through the recruiting process this summer, there was one school she had in mind.
The place her father played, the place she grew up going to watch games at and following deep postseason runs from afar: Bucknell University.
At first it didn’t seem like a likely landing spot. Her initial attempts to reach out to the Bucknell coaching staff were met with minimal interest. With some help from her Lady Runnin’ Rebels program, the Bison coaches came to see her play. They liked what they saw.
After a visit in October, Casey found out a spot on the team was hers if she wanted it. It didn't take much coaxing. She announced last week that she is continuing her academic and athletic careers at Bucknell.
“It’s so cool,” Casey said. “It’s a school I wanted to go to my whole life. I’m so excited about it.”
GA senior Izzy Casey will continue her career at Bucknell. (Photo: Mark Jordan/CoBL)
Casey’s father Mark played at Bucknell. The family tries to make the trip to Lewisburg, Pa. at least twice a year to watch one men’s game and women’s game. She got to watch her future team play closer to home when the Bison came to Temple in November.
She remembers following the career of former Bison captain Megan McGurk from Academy of Notre Dame to Bucknell. There have been a number of other favorites from both the men’s and women’s programs over the years.
She will join Neshaminy senior wing Reese Zemitis, who committed to the program in April.
“I think just my toughness,” Casey said of what impressed Bucknell. “In AAU, our team plays super tough, and I think they like the way I would do anything.”
Casey credits Rebels coaches Trish Green and Bill McDonough for instilling that toughness. Green has pushed Casey harder than any other coach since she started playing for her in ninth grade.
Germantown Academy first-year coach Lauren Power coached against Casey in the Inter-Academic League while at Notre Dame. When Power first took over at GA, she challenged the Patriots to be the “toughest team in the league.” She has a senior leader in Casey who sets that tone every game.
“Obviously Izzy was always at the top of the scouting report,” Power said. “She can do so many things. But I think my true appreciation came when I see her everyday at practice and I see all the little things in the game. She’s a leader for us, she rebounds the ball, she cuts so hard, she plays so hard. She guards the other team’s best player.”
“She’s one of the most selfless leaders I’ve ever had. … She’s so much fun to coach. She’s a smart player. Bucknell is super lucky to have her.”
Casey averaged 12.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 2.3 apg and 1.3 spg while shooting 53 percent from the floor as a junior to earn first team All-Inter-Academic League honors, following up second team honors as a sophomore.
She’s still happy to do some of the dirty work for her team, but she is also blossoming as a scorer in her senior campaign, averaging about 17 points per game for the Patriots.
“I think I've tried to incorporate a midrange game a little bit,” Casey said. “ I started working on that in AAU, but I think it’s taken off during my high school season, having that pull-up if I’m not getting to the basket or not taking the three.”
Casey is part of a senior class at GA that also includes Kutztown commit Jess Aponik, Sam Wade and Jenna Aponik. They’ve been part of some successful teams in their two seasons as the core for the Patriots, finishing tied for second in the Inter-Ac and reaching the PAISAA semifinals twice.
The goal before she heads off to play at her dream school is to lift the program to its first league title since 2020.
“I’ve never won one, so that’s the goal this year,” Casey said. “But the league is good, so it’s going to be tough. I think the games are going to be really crazy, especially the ones against Notre Dame and Penn Charter of course, they’re our rivals. I think we have a chance but we really have to play well.”