This n' that after first night of WPIAL basketball semifinals
Lincoln Park boys player Nelly Cmmings and Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic girls player Sam Breen have at least two more games left to play in their careers. That means they will move up even higher on the WPIAL all-time scoring lists.
Cummings and Breen have helped their teams to WPIAL championship games. Their teams also have qualified for the PIAA playoffs, which means at least one more game in the state playoffs, and likely more. Cummings is a sure bet to move into the top 10 of all time. And if Lincoln Park makes a run in the state playoffs, Cummings might even have a chance at the top five. Seriously.
Breen also has a good chance to move into the top 10 all-time in the WPIAL. For her to make the top five, all she would have to do is average about 50 points a game on the way to the state final game.
Now here is where exactly both players stand:
***Cummings (pictured) has 2,252 points. In today's Post-Gazette, his total was given as 2,246. But in checking with Lincoln Park scorekeeper and records keeper Marc Grandinetti, we at the P-G actually had Cummings' wrong point total for a first-round game. So, Cummings has 2,252, which ties him with former Blackhawk great Dante Calabria.
Remember Dante? Below is Dante and the rest of the Fabulous 5 from 1992, looking stylish next to a limo. It is from left, Carlynton's T. O'Shea, Calabria, Valley's Tom Pipkins, Duquesne's Derrick Scott and Penn-Trafford's Peca Arsic. Pipkins, by the way, is the all-time leading scorer in the WPIAL and had a nice career at Duquesne. Calabria played on Final Four teams and a national championship team at North Carolina. Arsic signed with West Virginia but transferred to Delaware.
Now back to where Cummings stands with his 2,252, and who is in front of him:
Tom Pipkins, Valley (1993) 2,838
Kevin Price, Duquesne (1994) 2,635
Kevin Covert, Neshannock (1995) 2,612
Vince Graham, Belle Vernon (1995) 2,429
T.J. McConnell, Chartiers Valley (2010) 2,404
Don Hennon, Wampum (1955) 2,376
Dan Fortson, Altoona/Shaler (1994) 2,331
Drew Schifino, Penn Hills (2000) 2,318
Terrelle Pryor, Jeannette (2008) 2,285
Ben McCauley, Yough (2005) 2,284
Brandon Fuss-Cheatham, Blackhawk (2001) 2,278
Micah Mason, Highlands (2012) 2,272
Cummings could pass some pretty big names in the next two games - Pryor, McCauley, Fuss-Cheatham and Mason.
*** As for Breen (pictured), she has 2,397 career points, which is 13th on the WPIAL all-time list, 14th if you count the 2,564 scored by Schenley's Cindy Dallas of the City League. Breen needs 80 points to move into the top 10 in WPIAL history. Tenth on the list is former West Mifflin star Tanisha Wright. Remember Wright? Good career at Penn State and played a long time in the WNBA.
Below is the Fab 5 from Wright's junior year. A talent pool? Real clever, huh? The Fab 5 is, from left, Oakland Catholic's Katie Bulger, Steel Valley's Jess Strom, Wright, Mt. Lebanon's Ashlee Kelly and North Allegheny's Jessica Brungo.
Here are the players ahead of Breen on the all-time WPIAL-City League list (no boy in City League history scored 2,000 points).
Gina Naccarato, Monessen (1996) 3,364
Charel Allen, Monessen (2004) 3,110
Brooke Stewart, East Allegheny (1999) 3,055
Jess Strom, Steel Valley (2001) 2,840
Kamela Gissendanner, Clairton (2003) 2,703
Chassidy Omogrosso, Blackhawk (2015) 2,686
Swin Cash, McKeesport (1998) 2,678
Carrie Bordas, Aliquippa (1990) 2,658
Cindy Dallas, Schenley (1998) 2,564
Maude Searcy, Wilkinsburg (1990) 2,541
Tanisha Wright, West Mifflin (2001) 2,477
Loui Hall, Albert Gallatin (2003) 2,440
Shatori Walker-Kimbrough, Hopewell, (2013) 2,427
*** Man, those Blackhawk girls can shoot. The Cougars average 10 3-pointers a game. I caught their act for the first time last night. Impressive. And it's dribble-drive offense at its best.
This team brings back memories of Blackhawk's boys team Calabria's senior year in 1992. Calabria, Hal Koenemund and Andy Gray were deadly shooters on one of the WPIAL's best teams the past three or four decades. That team was coached by legendary John Miller. And is it any wonder this Blackhawk girls team plays the way they do? After all, Blackhawk girls coach Steve Lodovico played for Miller, although much later than the 1992 team. And Lodovico's assistant is Bob Amalia, who was an assistant for a long time under Miller.
*** Hey, remember that for the first time the WPIAL is using the seats at the Petersen Center that the "Oakland Zoo" sits in. Usually, they are pulled back and not used for the championships. But those seats are reserved for the WPIAL championships and can only be purchased on line through the Pitt ticket office.
*** Vincentian is in the girls finals for the sixth consecutive season? Pretty impressive.
*** I think a shoutout goes to North Catholic boys coach Dave Long for getting his team back to the finals again. NC won the Class 1A title last season. The Trojans are playing in 3A this year and Long is going for his fourth championship. And to think he almost retired a few years ago.
*** I say shoutouts to a few more coaches, like McGuffey's Mike Fatigante. I know the Highlanders didn't come from a strong section, but Fatigante put McGuffey in the playoffs for only the third time and they won a playoff game for the first time. And they trailed New Castle at the half by only a few points in the quarterfinals before getting blown away. Even New Castle coach Ralph Blundo remarked how well-coached McGuffey was.
And kudos to Pine-Richland's Jeff Ackermann. Yes, his team has been No. 1 all season, but could he go on and win his fifth WPIAL title?
And it needs mentioned the job done by Buzz Gabos at North Hills. Three years in a row in the semifinals. That's pretty impressive by ol' Buzz in the largest classification. And think of this: North Hills has made the semifinals only five times in school history. Four of the appearances have been under Gabos.