A-K Valley boys basketball notebook: Dylan Cook hits 1,000 points for high-scoring Leechburg

Thursday, February 4, 2021 | 6:39 PM

Last Friday, Aquinas Academy’s super sophomore Vinnie Cugini became the fastest player in WPIAL history to reach the 1,000-point milestone, and although it was a historic night for Cugini, he wasn’t the only player to accomplish the feat that night.

In Leechburg’s 86-79 victory over the Crusaders, Blue Devils senior point guard Dylan Cook scored 24 points and surpassed the 1,000-point mark. Cook was honored for his accomplishment , then led his team to their third victory of the season.

Cook has been a staple for the Blue Devils throughout his high school career. He led the team in scoring last year with 19.9 points per game as Leechburg averaged 70 points per game.

This year, the Blue Devils have been scoring at an even higher clip — 72.8 points per game — and Cook has been leading the way once again. As the starting point guard in a fast-paced offense, Cook has averaged 18.6 points per game. He scored a season-high 36 against St. Joseph on Jan. 19 when the Blue Devils collected a season-high 92 points.

Cook hasn’t been the only Blue Devil putting up numbers this season.

Sophomore swingman Braylan Lovelace is leading the team with 19 points per game, and junior forward Eli Rich has been averaging 17.2 points as the Blue Devils have built a 4-2 record.

Rich scored a season-high 28 points on the same night Cook surpassed the 1,000-point milestone, and Lovelace scored a season-high 31 points against Valley on Jan. 15.

Another top-tier battle

For the second time this season, the WPIAL Class 2A No. 2 Springdale Dynamos (9-3, 4-1) will take on No. 1 Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (11-0, 7-0).

The Dynamos took on OLSH in their second game of the season when the Chargers were playing their third, so both teams were a little sloppy throughout. The Chargers led from wire to wire and won, 75-54.

As the season has gone on, both teams have started to hit a stride.

The Chargers haven’t lost, averaging a WPIAL-high 78.1 points per game. WPIAL Class 5A No. 1 New Castle is the only other team that comes close to averaging as much as OLSH at 75.1 points per game.

The Dynamos have lost twice since facing the Chargers, losing to Bishop Canevin, 72-44, and WPIAL Class 5A No. 3 Highlands by a point, 65-64. Springdale has won eight of its 10 games since the loss to OLSH, and senior guard Demitri Fritch has averaged around 25.4 points per game.

Senior Ben Myford, who scored 13 points in the first matchup, has also been contributing for the Dynamos, and Ryan Reinsfelder has started to find his stroke from the perimeter.

There should definitely be some fireworks Friday.

Outfoxing the Spartans

WPIAL Class 6A No. 3 Fox Chapel is rounding into form, and the Foxes continued that positive trend earlier this week when they squeaked out a 49-48 victory over No. 4 Hempfield.

During their first Section 3-6A victory over the Spartans this season, junior guard Eli Yofan scored a season-high 34 points. On Tuesday, Yofan scored 31 points in another crucial victory, extending the team’s winning streak to six games.

Rebounding from a loss

Despite a career-high 29-point effort by sophomore guard Jimmy Kunst, No. 3 Highlands suffered its first loss of the season on Tuesday to Shaler in a 71-67 battle that went back and forth.

The Golden Rams jumped out to an early 18-14 lead, but the Titans battled back with a 25-point second quarter and held off their Section 4-5A opponent in the waning moments.

It didn’t take long for the Golden Rams to bounce back. On Wednesday, they scored a season-high 92 points, taking out their frustrations on former section rival Knoch. Kunst scored 23 and Chandler Thimons added 22 in a 26-point victory.

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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