Over the last four seasons of basketball at Bishop Kearney H.S., Bensonhurst, one thing is certain:
The “Luck of the Irish” has had nothing to do with the emergence of Casey O’Shaughnessy as one of the top players in the GCHSAA ‘A’ Division.
Instead, it’s the senior point guard’s work ethic and leadership that has her eager to finish off her high school career with a bang.
When it’s all said and done, O’Shaughnessy will rank second all-time on Bishop Kearney’s scoring list with more than 1,700 pts. – only trailing the great Janelle McManus.
McManus, a GCHSAA Hall of Famer, tallied 2,274 pts. in her legendary high school career. She remains the top scorer in league history.
O’Shaughnessy, 17, came to Bishop Kearney by way of Good Shepherd Elementary School and parish, Marine Park. She was a member of the parish’s Catholic Youth Organization basketball, softball and swim teams.
She played two years of high school softball, but she’s been focused on basketball since her freshman year. The five-foot, seven-inch guard has played all four seasons on the Tigers’ varsity team.
Each year, she continuously improved her game. She went from averaging 9.4 pts. per game as a freshman, to 16.0 pts. per game as a sophomore to then 22.0 pts. per game as a junior team captain. In each season, she earned a nod as a Tablet All-Star.
In what’s seemingly unheard of in this league, O’Shaughnessy reached the 1,000-pt. plateau as a junior. She became the ninth player in Bishop Kearney history to accomplish the feat, joining Megan McGovern (1984), Marguerite Moran (1984), Deirdre Byrnes (1991), Kerry Ansbro (1995), McManus (2000), Caitlin Boyle (2003), Maria Laterza (2007) and Samantha Retas (2011).
“With the way we play at Kearney, I have a lot of freedom with the ball,” the soon-to-be four-time Tablet All-Star said. “My teammates always encourage me too.”
It’s hard to imagine, but O’Shaughnessy has been even better this season than in years past. On Jan. 10, she delivered a 49-pt. performance against Cristo Rey Brooklyn H.S., Flatbush, which set the school’s single-game scoring record. McManus was the previous record-holder at 45 pts. – a total that O’Shaughnessy reached this season on Feb. 3 against Notre Dame Academy, Staten Island.
During games, O’Shaughnessy’s talent is evident. However, it’s her work in practice that allows her to thrive on the court. Before a big game, she’ll shoot anywhere between 700 and 800 shots to prepare, and it’s that muscle memory that allows her to drain the biggest shots in the biggest moments like it’s second nature.
Opposing coaches have surely caught on to O’Shaughnessy’s dominance. She is routinely covered by two defenders, so she’s always on the lookout for an open teammate.
“That happens a lot, so I try to get my teammates involved early,” she said. “My points will come eventually. We have a lot of good players on our team. Once they get going, they can score a lot of points.”
In 2016, the Tigers reached the diocesan title game during O’Shaughnessy’s freshman season, losing to Msgr. McClancy H.S., East Elmhurst. The Crusaders repeated as diocesan champs in 2017, and St. Joseph H.S., Downtown Brooklyn, took home the title last season. Despite all the scoring records, O’Shaughnessy’s overall goal is for the team to succeed.
“I want to just win,” she said. “The scoring is nice, but I want to end up with wins and getting as far as we can. We just need to be confident in ourselves, and everybody needs to be aggressive.”
O’Shaughnessy hopes to continue her hoops career at the next level, but as the playoffs approach, she knows there is unfinished business to take care of first before choosing where to play her college basketball.
Still, she’ll never forget how these past four years at Bishop Kearney helped shape her as a student-athlete and as a person.
“I knew a lot of people on the team before, but I’ve met so many new people,” she said. “I’ve had such a great experience at Kearney. It’s meant a lot.”
Really the only thing left for O’Shaughnessy to accomplish on the high school basketball court is to hoist a diocesan title trophy.
She and her Tigers teammates continue the journey as the GCHSAA playoffs get underway.
Contact Jim Mancari via email at email@example.com.