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GIRLS BASKETBALL: Germantown Academy Inches Closer to Inter-Ac Title in Thriller Against Penn Charter

By Zachary Gephart, 02/12/24, 11:15AM EST


Penn Charter Honors Their Sole Senior Player



PHILADELPHIA - In a must-win game to stay alive for the Inter-Ac title, Germantown Academy senior and Bucknell commit Isabella Casey came through for the Patriots to bring them one game away from glory.

The cards had fallen perfectly in line for a storybook win for either William Penn Charter or Germantown Academy Friday night. The Quakers, who had won their previous 11 straight, looked to grab a crucial win on their home floor during senior night. Led by freshman Ryan Carter and junior Kaylinn Bethea, the team had battled back during the second half of their season to bring themselves in contention for a title. The Patriots, on the other hand, were seeking revenge. Despite winning 13 of their previous 14 games, their singular loss during this streak came from Penn Charter on January 18th with a final score of 61-58.

Penn Charter would ride the backs of both Carter and Bethea, who would combine for 39 of the Quakers’ total points. Carter would finish with a game-high of 20 points, while Bethea tacked on an additional 19 of her own. Their sole senior, Ashlie Johnson, would provide seven on the scoreboard herself. The Patriots would respond to their high scoring performance with one of their own, with all five of their starters reaching double digits in points. Casey, however, would be the one who would bring it home for Germantown Academy, hitting a late free throw to give the Patriots a narrow 63-62 victory.

Germantown Academy vs. Penn Charter Game highlights. Izzy Casey seals the 63-62 victory for GA with late free throw. (Video/ Zach Gephart for PSD)

“This was just such a big steppingstone… to get into the championship,” Casey said. “We knew how hard the game was going to be, but we never gave up.”

The game would begin somewhat slow, with Penn Charter taking an early 6-2 lead just a few minutes into the first quarter of play. A three-pointer by junior Gabby Bowes would propel her Patriots back into a scoring rhythm, while a pair of free-throws from Bethea would keep the Quakers within striking distance. Germantown Academy would hold a slim 11-10 lead as the opening quarter came to a close.

The second quarter would prompt a flurry of three-pointers from each team, with the Patriots’ Samantha Wade and the Quakers’ Bethea both exchanging long-range shots. Despite this, Germantown Academy would hold a stern lead with three minutes left. Carter would then quickly shrink the gap as time expired, and Penn Charter would hold a 25-23 lead as the teams reached halftime.

In the second half, the two teams would go toe-to-toe with the potential of an Inter-Ac championship on the line.

Both the Quakers and the Patriots came out of the gate blazing, hitting from all spots on the floor. Wade would drive down the lane and convert an and-one opportunity, only for Carter to respond with a pair of mid-range jump shots. Then, they would turn to the free throw line, where both sides began hitting their shots at a high clip. The teams would double their first-half point totals in this quarter alone, entering the fourth quarter with a 43-42 Germantown Academy lead.

This pace would continue as the game came down to the wire, but mostly from the free throw line. Early in the final quarter, both teams entered the bonus, which sparked both aggressive attacks and a horde of fouls. This had become a theme for the game as a whole, with the Patriots’ Bowes entering the second half with three early fouls. This would also prove to be the deciding factor of the game, as Penn Charter’s Marleigh Jackson would be sent to the line down two with under seven seconds left to play. Under immense pressure, she would go two-for-two, tying the game at 62.


Germantown Academy's Senior Team Members: twin sisters Jenna & Jessica Aponik, Izzy Casey and Sam Wade talk about the importance of this game and their fondest memories of being a part of their team. (Video/ Zach Gephart)

As the clock began to dwindle, the Patriots’ Jessica Kolecki drove down the court and dumped the ball down to senior Jessica Aponik. Her layup attempt would be unsuccessful, but Casey would retrieve the ball amongst a crowd of Quakers. Going up for the final shot, she would be hit on the arm prompting one final foul. With the crowd erupting with her at the line, she calmly hit the game-sealing shot to give Germantown Academy the win.

“Honestly, I think tonight was my favorite memory [at Germantown Academy],” Casey shared. “That was the craziest thing I’ve ever been a part of. The amazing atmosphere, like, tonight…tops anything”.

With this win, the Patriots now 10-1 in league standings, will travel to Notre Dame this afternoon to play for the rights of the Inter-Ac Championship.

Before tip off Penn Charter celebrated senior Ashlie Johnson who is pictured with her parents and head coach Joe Maguire. (Photo by Allie Riches for PSD)

Penn Charter Senior Ashlie Johnson reflects on being a part of her team and offers advice for her team going forward. (video/ Zach Gephart)

Penn Charter proved their worth as a top team in the conference with a 9-2 league record. Johnson believes the experience of being a Quaker has shaped who she is as a person.

“I first came here very shy and to myself,” Johnson shared. “Now I’m leaving with a lot of lifetime friends that I hang out a lot with outside of school.”

The Quakers will conclude their season at home against Agnes Irwin this Tuesday.