Don’t feel too bad for a girl if you see her playing basketball on the same court as nine guys this summer in Wildwood Crest.
She’s probably the one taking them to school.
That girl is likely Bella Toomey, a 6-foot rising junior at Penn Charter High School.
If you wonder what she’s doing playing against the big boys, she’s just doing her best to get better.
“I love playing basketball, and when you’re down there, you’re just playing with whoever is out,” said Toomey, who also plays soccer and lacrosse for the Quakers. “I just want to get better, and it’s not just me, I have friends and my sister, they’ll play, too. They definitely don’t take it easy on us.
“I think they see that I’m tall and figure I play basketball. But it’s fun, streetball is a great way to get better. As long as I’m running around, I’m happy.”
That’s probably why the Fox Chase native always has a smile on her face.
While playing at Penn Charter, Toomey plays center, but when she plays for the Philadelphia Comets, her AAU squad, she usually plays the wing. That allows her to use her height as an advantage, although last year while she was going up against the bigger players in the Inter-Ac, she fared quite well in her first year as a starter.
“Most of my life, I was always the tallest one, so I played the post, which I love, but this summer I’m playing a lot more wing, and I love it,” Toomey said. “It’s great because I’m usually taller and I’m able to use my height. My whole life I’ve been pretty good at driving to the lane, that’s what I tend to do, that’s my strength. I wouldn’t call myself a shooter, but that’s one of the things I’ve been working on the most. I want to get better in that area.”
She’s certainly putting in the work.
On top of playing with anyone she can during her days off, she has been going all over playing AAU. She recently attended a tournament in Kentucky, and then jumped in her dad’s car and headed to Indianapolis for another tournament.
She’s seeing the best competition in the country and she’s making sure every time she plays in a game, she is improving.
“I love what we’re doing, I know I wouldn’t have been in Kentucky or Indianapolis without basketball this summer,” Toomey said. “It’s great that my family supports me like this, they made that possible. But I love it. I’m getting so much better by playing in these tournaments. It’s great competition.”
She also gets better by playing other sports.
A basketball player by trade, Toomey is also the starting goalkeeper on the Quakers’ soccer team, and last year she was on the junior varsity lacrosse team.
She loves playing both sports. The other perk to playing soccer and lacrosse is it helps her with her main sport.
“I think playing goalie, it helps a lot,” Toomey said. “There’s another girl on my AAU team who also plays goalie and we talk about it. It helps a lot.
“I just tried lacrosse because my uncle coaches with HHH Lacrosse in Philly, it’s like an AAU team, so when I was little, he’d always buy my sticks, and I had a lot of friends play at Penn Charter. I didn’t start doing it until high school, but I really love it. I just play JV, but I really have fun with it. It’s hard, but I’m getting better.”
Toomey seems to have little free time because she’s a three-sport athlete, but she does find time to mix in activities.
At Penn Charter, she helps attract new students to the school by working as a clerk helping with admissions, and she’s also in the Cancer Club, which helps people dealing with the illness.
“Last year we did a lot of Zoom meetings and I met with kids who were looking at Penn Charter,” Toomey said. “I love the school, so it wasn’t hard at all. And the Cancer Club, my friend started the club, she was dealing with it, and I had someone in my family (a great uncle) pass away from cancer, unfortunately, so I joined. It’s a good club that looks to do fundraisers and helps educate people. It’s great for me because I want to go into the medical field.”
Her family has helped with the medical field part, too.
Toomey is very close with her family, including her younger sister Julianne, who will be a freshman playing the same sports she does this year, and Joey, 8.
“I love hanging out with my family, we take my brother golfing a lot, he doesn’t play any sports for teams, but he is very athletic,” Toomey said. “And I’m close with my younger cousins. I think that’s why I want to get into pediatric medicine.
“He’s a good athlete. So is my sister. She’s really athletic and we’re really competitive. She’s so good, she’s going to play soccer, basketball and lacrosse and she’s going to be so good for our team. I can’t wait to see her play, she’s going to be great.”
Soccer camp starts in about a month, and Toomey will be ready. But until then, she’ll keep working on her game while working on her tan while working.
“I’m a lifeguard at Seaport in North Wildwood,” Toomey said. “It’s a great job, I can’t complain at all, great hours and I sit in the sun and watch kids play. But it’s no joke, you have to take it seriously. I had to go for certification, and I take it very seriously.
“I love it because I work during the day, then I can go to the beach or play basketball. It’s a great job and I can still have fun.”
And get better in basketball.
“Last year was a great year, and I hope I’m better next year,” Toomey said. “I owe a lot to Coach Joe (Maguire), he pushed me and was always there for me to help me get better. Him and my family. If they didn’t help me, drive me and make sure I got everywhere, I couldn’t do this. I’m lucky to have all of them help me.”