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GIRLS BASKETBALL: Two Weeks of PCL Play Comprised of Milestone Achievements, Young Squads and Challenging Starts

By John Knebels , 01/19/23, 11:00AM EST


Photos/Videos: Colleen Claggett, Donna Eckert, Kathy Leister, Lennie Malmgren & Jack Verdeur

By: John Knebels

PHILADELPHIA – Time to add some stitching to that banner.

Needing 16 points to become Lansdale Catholic’s all-time women’s leading scorer January 10 against visiting Bonner-Prendergast, senior Gabby Casey took care of business with laser focus.

The sizzling senior scored a jaw-dropping 19 points in the first quarter, but it was points 15 and 16 that fueled the packed crowd to rise collectively to its feet. After taking a perfect feed from sophomore Sanyiah Littlejohn, Casey finished the fast break with a layup.

Move over, 1994 graduate Megan O’Brien, whose previous career total of 1,244 had stood tall for almost three decades.

“I was super nervous at the beginning of the game, so once I hit it, I felt so relieved,” said Casey. “My teammates were running toward me, so I knew I had finally hit it. The game stopped and former players brought out signs . . . and the crowd was going crazy . . . it was amazing. Everyone was so happy. It was just so great.”

The St. Joseph’s University-bound guard/forward admitted that she was “trying to keep track in my head, but it was hard.” No one expected it to take her fewer than eight minutes to reach her zenith, but Lansdale Catholic’s full-court press overwhelmed Bonner-Prendergast, and Casey took full advantage.

Gabby Casey became Lansdale Catholic’s all-time women’s leading scorer on Jan. 10th against Bonner-Prendergast - PSD Photo by Jack Verdeur

With the victory already secured and finished with 23 points, the first-team All-Catholic joined the rest of the Crusader starters – second-team All-Catholic junior Olivia Boccella, sophomore Nadia Yemola, senior Jaida Helm, and the aforementioned Littlejohn – on the bench for virtually the next three quarters and rooted for teammates enjoying more playing time than usual.

“That moment was definitely one of the best in my basketball career for sure,” said Casey. “It means a lot. Just to have something to be remembered for is super cool, and the fact I have a team that’s like family to me makes it 10 times better.”

Fifth-year Lansdale Catholic coach Eric Gidney has seen every one of Casey’s points. He recalled Casey’s initial stint as a substitute-turned starter when 2020 graduate Caitlin Rosenberger tore her anterior cruciate ligament in the first game of the 2019-20 season, which pushed Casey into the starting lineup.

Gabby Casey broke the record of 1,244 points, previously held by 1994 graduate Megan O’Brien - PSD Photo by Jack Verdeur

Casey never looked back.

“Gabby took full advantage of the opportunity,” said Gidney. “It didn’t take long before it was obvious that she could play anywhere on the court. She’s that talented. She’s a match-up nightmare.

“She’s a great captain, and she leads by example. She’s able to take freshmen aside and say, ‘This is how we do it at Lansdale Catholic.’ She makes everyone better, including the coaches. She challenges us to make changes and never be complacent.”

Now that Casey has accomplished the individual accomplishment of taking over as points leader and has the advantage of knowing where she will play next, Gidney said that makes the standout even more dangerous.

“Everything is geared toward team goals,” said Gidney. “She’s savoring every moment. She’s enjoying the ride.” 

Through their 4-0 start in the Philadelphia Catholic League that follows an impressive pre-season, Lansdale Catholic has established itself as a clear championship contender. Four starters from last year’s team that reached the PIAA Class 4A state championship return, and the addition of a talented Helm cements one of the area’s most talented squads.

In their PCL opener, Casey scored 40 points and snared 21 rebounds as the visiting Crusaders defeated Neumann-Goretti, 76-54.

Last year, Lansdale Catholic beat Neumann-Goretti during the regular season behind a 40-point Casey outburst before losing to the Saints in the PCL quarterfinals.

Barring a huge upset, the Crusaders figure to remain undefeated before taking on three of the PCL’s elite – Cardinal O’Hara, at Archbishop Wood, and at Archbishop Carroll – to close out the regular season.

“We have to keep getting better,” said Casey, whose current point total now stands at 1,285, well within reach of LC’s all-time men’s point leader, 2003 graduate, Mike McGowan, who scored 1,347. “Every game, it’s about improving. Every game.”

Cardinal O'Hara

Now that they are the PCL defending champion, Cardinal O’Hara has become the league’s most hunted team.

And it doesn’t matter that the Lions don’t think of themselves like that. Opponents aren’t interested in acknowledging that a significant portion of last year’s PIAA Class 5A state champion graduated.

“To be honest, with the group we lost from last year and the talent that Archbishop Wood and Lansdale Catholic and Archbishop Carroll all had returning, I never really thought of ‘defending the title,’” said O’Hara coach Chrissie Doogan. “After spending two months in the gym with these girls, I can’t wait for February.

“We have one really good scorer, three juniors that have all elevated their games since last year, seniors who are terrific on and off the court with this group, and a freshman who is fearless . . . and some others off the bench that are just working hard waiting for an opportunity.”

The Lions’ go-to performer becomes second-team All-Catholic sophomore Molly Rullo, who has averaged 17 points. The second-team All-Catholic leads a group that includes junior Joanie Quinn, junior Greta Miller, junior Carly Coleman, senior Maria McCallen, freshman Meg Rullo, and senior Bridget Dawson, who continues to recover from an earlier injury.

Now at 4-0 in the PCL and 10-2 overall, the Lions proved their resolve in a dramatic 58-55 win over West Chester’s Bayard Rustin. Down by 10 points early in the third quarter, the Lions chipped away and ultimately went home happy after Quinn drilled a three-pointer at the buzzer. In addition to Quinn’s 14, Molly Rullo scored 17 and her sister Meg added 14.

“Well, you know that every year, all the teams in the PCL come out with the same goal, and that is to win the plaque,” said the elder Rullo, a second-team All-Catholic last year. “So no game is ever easy in this league.

“However, teams locally want to beat the state champions. I think for us, it’s just going out every game and playing hard, playing defense, sharing the ball, following our game plan, and playing O’Hara basketball. 

O'Hara vs. CEC Highlights by Donna Eckert

O'hara vs. Ryan - PSD Highlights by Jack Verdeur

“Last year, we had a really good team with really good seniors who contributed in different ways. I think what most people forget since we are so young this year is that the majority of the players who returned went up against that strong senior class in practice day in and day out. Not only did they make the starting five better, but they continued to get better.

“This year, everyone needed to take a different role in contributing, and I think it’s pretty neat to see how it has been playing out since we are getting more comfortable playing off one another.”

Archbishop Wood

Archbishop Wood has a new look, but the results remain the same.

The Vikings are 3-0 and will visit Archbishop Carroll on Friday and then host Cardinal O’Hara next Tuesday in a battle between the last two PCL champions.  

Along with second-team All-Catholic senior Deja Evans, senior Delaney Finnegan, sophomore Emily Knouse, and senior Kara Meredith (17 points against then-nationally top-ranked Long Island Lutheran and 14 against Inter-Academic League champion Penn Charter), Wood features junior Ava Renninger.

A transfer last year who acquiesced to some of Wood’s more experienced players, Renninger now takes on increased expectations on the court and a leadership role for Wood’s younger players.

“I feel more comfortable with the offense and the team and have a better understanding of the competition in the Catholic League,” said Renninger. “I think anyone who comes to Wood looks forward to those games against those great programs. After playing a year at Wood, I realized every game is a tough game and I need to be at my best at all times.”

With former star Ryanne Allen now off to a great start at Vanderbilt University, the Vikings lack a bona fide go-to scorer. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

“As a team we all just trust each other,” said Renninger. “At times, we are even harder to defend because our opponents can’t focus on one or two players.”

Archbishop Carroll

Archbishop Carroll struggled at times during the pre-season, but in the PCL, the Patriots are tied for first place with Cardinal O’Hara at 4-0, with key matchups beckoning Friday at Archbishop Wood and January 26 against Cardinal O’Hara.

“Before our game versus Rustin, Coach Renie (Shields) wrote, ‘Do Harder, Better’ on the board,” said second-team All-Catholic junior Brooke Wilson. “The first half of the season was hard. We were challenged with very good teams. We have seen everything and we were able to work with it, but unfortunately, for most games, we did not get the job done at the end.

“As PCL play continues, things aren’t going to get easier. Games, matchups, practices aren’t going to get easier. Because of the hardships we faced, we are becoming a team that handles the hard better.”

Wilson appreciates the camaraderie among upperclassmen and underclassmen.

“We have a mix of all grades on our team this year and we complement each other very well,” said Wilson. “Each brings a different attribute to the game. (Freshman) Lex (Eberz) fit right into the system and has been playing great.  She understood her role, and immediately she began to thrive. Our captains (seniors Taylor Wilson, Courtland Schumacher, and Meg Sheridan) have done a great job of leading the team and being great examples for the underclassmen.” 

Archbishop Carroll vs. Conwell-Egan Highlights by Lennie Malmgren

Aforementioned first-team All-Catholic Taylor Wilson, who recently scored 22 in a win over Archbishop Ryan, agrees.

“We have been challenged in almost every single game we have played so far, and I think that will really help us in the long run when we get further into league play,” she said. “It was definitely tough in the beginning getting used to playing without Grace (O’Neill, now thriving at Drexel University) and then having the freshmen and new players get used to the game.

“Every year, I think that we are a different team based on who we have lost and who we have gained, so it always takes time in the beginning figuring out what works best for us. But I think our past couple of games have shown that we are comfortable with each other and we have realized what works best for us in order to win games.”


Neumann-Goretti raised its record to 2-1 on Tuesday by defeating West Catholic, 76-51.

Second-team All-Catholic sophomore Carryn Easley poured in 30 points to go along with four rebounds, seven assists, and four steals.

Sophomore Amya Scott (18 points, four assists, and three steals) and freshman Kamora Berry (11 points, four steals) also contributed.

“We played well as a team tonight and shot the ball really good,” said N-G coach Andrea Peterson. “I challenged our three captains (Easley, Scott, and senior Amirah Hackney) to lead the way. They did just that, and it made the flow of the game smooth.

“We were locked in both defensively and offensively tonight. Our two sophomores (Easley and Scott) played lights out. When they both get going at the same time, it’s dangerous.”


Conwell-Egan’s early league schedule was brutal. The Eagles (7-8 overall, 1-3 league) dropped decisions to Archbishop Wood, Archbishop Carroll, and Cardinal O’Hara. They defeated Little Flower.

“It’s been a roller coaster season with tough matchups in December prepping for PCL play,” said C-E coach Chris Brennan. “We are battling through several lineup changes due to injuries and the team has responded with incredible effort."

In what could prove to be an important contest in District 12 considerations, the Eagles take on Neumann-Goretti on Thursday.

“(Sophomore) Lily Milewski has been a constant for us on both ends of the court, leading the team in scoring, rebounds and blocks,” said Brennan. “(Junior) Brooke McFadden continues to be a major source of scoring for our team. (Junior) Brianna McFadden has taken on a more prominent role into the starting lineup and has really responded well on both ends. (Senior) Kyliyah Carmichael’s experience, calm, and composure have really been resourceful with so many changes taking place throughout the season.”  


St. Hubert’s notched a 47-27 win over Bonner-Prendergast.

In addition to freshman Luca D’Andrea’s eight points, nine rebounds, six steals, and four steals, junior Lex Price scored a career-high 15 points and added eight boards and three steals.

“This win was a pretty big win for us, especially after coming off a couple of losses,” said Price. “It felt good to win tonight. My teammates and I really wanted to win and it motivated me to work harder on the court.

“Our ball movement improved. We were all finding the open player, whether it was someone inside or out on the wing. We were also making good passes so that we could put up good shots from either the inside or the outside.”

Archbishop Ryan

Archbishop Ryan managed two wins last year. So far, the Ragdolls have doubled that total.

Coach Julian Rattliff is prepared to plow through significant growth pains.  

“We still haven't played our best basketball yet and are now in the midst of the toughest part of our schedule,” said Ratliff. “(Sophomore) Reynah Rattliff is learning a lot as lead guard. (Junior) Delaney Finn and (junior) Haley Davis are getting more continuity every game. Our bench is really starting to hit their stride.

“This group is working hard. Lots of optimism going forward.”

Little Flower

Little Flower senior Gabby Dever has seen a lot, including two coaching staffs, in her four years of basketball. She has emerged appreciative of the past and optimistic about the present.

“We have a few wins under our belt from our preseason, so we are definitely hungry to get into the Catholic League and work to get some more wins,” said Dever. “We are looking stronger on the court. We are learning how to play as one, and that’s what every team really needs.”

The Sentinels are comprised of point guard Dever, speedy honorable mention All-Catholic sophomore Hayden Johnston, sophomore defender Bridget Comas, scoring senior Ciarra Corcoran, and senior rebounder Lucy Donahue. An injury to Corcoran has allowed junior Meghan Colfer to acquire some starting time.

Little Flower senior Gabby Dever #13 - PSD Photo by Kathy Leister

“I am blessed to play with girls that are like family. Since we have been playing since October, we are definitely becoming very in sync with each other on the court. With it being our last year playing in the Catholic League, we are definitely looking to make it a memorable one.”

West Catholic

West Catholic opened with a victory at Bonner-Prendergast before a rugged strength of losses against Archbishop Carroll, Lansdale Catholic, and Neumann-Goretti. Up next for the starting five consisting of four freshmen (Ciani Scott, Jalyn Moore, Jasmine Butler, and Ciana Blake) and second-team All-Catholic senior Amina Reid are St. Hubert’s and Archbishop Ryan.

"We are a very young team, but the girls have been working extremely hard and we are getting better daily,” said West coach Messiah Reames. “Very pleased with where we are in the first half of the season while knowing we have room for growth."


Bonner-Prendergast’s overall record is 1-6 and the Pandas are still looking for their first league win.

Save the tears.

“The overall attitude of the team has been positive,” said junior Riley Donahue. “We know we’re young and this is a rebuilding year, but we’re working hard every day and having fun. Sometimes we get frustrated by losing, but by working together, we turn that frustration into motivation. 

“We keep each other motivated.  We’re making each other better every game. We’re a young team and we’re playing for each other this year.”

Along with Donahue, starters include senior Mya LoSasso, junior Leah Walker, freshman Melanie Standen, and sophomore Emily Riehl

“This has been a tough year,” said B-P coach Tom Stewart, “but I have a great group of girls.”

 (Contact John Knebels at or on Twitter @johnknebels.)

PCL Standings Through Jan. 19

Archbishop Carroll, 4-0

Cardinal O’Hara, 4-0

Archbishop Wood, 3-0

Lansdale Catholic, 3-0

Neumann-Goretti, 2-1

Conwell-Egan, 1-3

St. Hubert’s, 1-3

West Catholic, 1-3

Archbishop Ryan, 0-3

Bonner-Prendergast, 0-3

Little Flower, 0-3