Isabel Scales has been an important part of three varsity sports at Caston High School since she arrived as a freshman in 2020. Upon her graduation in just over six months, Scales will go down as a highly-decorated athlete that has elevated future Comets’ expectations of success.
“I want to be remembered with this group of girls that were known as the group that pushed Caston athletics to be what it can be,” said Scales. “Where we were when we stepped in and where we are now, it’s a huge difference. I want the next grades coming in to not be satisfied.”
That drive to succeed pushed Scales to success on the volleyball court, basketball court and softball diamond at Caston. And while she may be more naturally-gifted as a softball player, her love of basketball will take her to Bethel College next fall in Mishawaka, Indiana.
Scales wanted her college decision completed before her senior year got in full swing. Playing in her final AAU basketball tournament of the summer, a Bethel coach invited Scales to visit the campus about an hour north of Caston High School. She did – twice.
“I had my first visit in the summer and I didn’t get to meet any of the girls,” said Scales. “I went back when school was in session and I met the girls. Something drew me to Bethel. They were so kind to me and open. I liked the family atmosphere.”
Looking back, Scales is surprised she never investigated Bethel in the first place.
“I don’t know why because I looked at a bunch of schools in their conference,” she explained. “It caught me off guard how beautiful it was. It would have been a good place to start.”
Scales intends to major in Education then attend graduate school to become a speech pathologist.
With her decision complete, Scales could focus in on her senior year. And while volleyball is admittedly not her favorite sport, she enjoyed the camaraderie of her fellow teammates and gained enormous respect for her coach, who fed her competitive nature.
“It’s the lowest of sports for me. I don’t think I’m the best at it,” she said. “I love the coach. I love the players with this core group of seniors. We hung out all the time. That made it fun.”
Caston finished the season 24-8 and lost to Southwood in the sectional opener. Southwood went on to win the state title Saturday at Worthen Arena on the campus of Ball State University.
Scales already has Caston off to a 3-0 start in her final basketball season where she believes the Comets can embrace an underdog role despite going 20-3 last season.
“This year, going into the basketball sectional there will be no pressure on us,” she said. “Tri-County (the defending sectional champion) has everyone back.”
Caston’s first big test of the season comes Friday at North White, the team it lost to in the sectional opener last season. The Comets are still figuring out their rotations but Scales likes her team’s athleticism.
“With a certain lineup on the floor, we are so athletic and can do things that past Caston teams haven’t been able to do,” she said.
Scales is a stat-sheet stuffer on the basketball court. Last season she averaged 16.4 points, 8.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 3.3 steals per game – all team highs – while shooting 40% from the field and 31% from the three-point line. She entered her senior season with 1,019 career points and 422 career rebounds.
“Winning a sectional title … that’s my angle,” said Scales of her personal goals. “There are a lot bigger goals I have like being the all-time leading scorer at Caston. That’s a huge goal. And I want to win all the tournaments (we’re in) and bring home all the trophies.”
And then there is Scales’ softball career. As a junior shortstop, she helped Caston reach the Class A state championship game.
“I was very nervous. Addison (Zimpleman) and I walked around the school, calmed down, got on the bus and then walked into Purdue’s stadium,” she remembered of that state championship day. “I can’t even describe that feeling … nervewracking, exciting, exhilarating. There were so many people.”
In their first state finals appearance, the Comets came up short in a 6-0 loss to Tecumseh.
“Addison and I were devastated after the loss,” said Scales. “It took awhile to realize we actually went to state.”
And with Scales, who hit .538 with 11 doubles, 15 home runs and 49 runs batted in, and Zimpleman, a Purdue Fort Wayne softball commit, back in the lineup, a return trip to Purdue is a real possibility.
While Scales was a competitive travel softball player in her younger years, she gave it up to focus on basketball. Her stats, though, demonstrate why people think she could play college softball.
“Everybody says I’m going to college for the wrong sport,” she said. “I am just naturally good at softball. I agree. It comes naturally to me to excel.”
Scales admits she has thought about playing softball at the next level but after so many consecutive seasons within three sports, she is more excited about being a one-sport athlete at Bethel.
“I’ve had coaches reach out about playing college softball,” said Scales. “I am ready to focus on one sport and give it all my effort.”