Aquinas Academy sophomore Vinnie Cugini makes WPIAL history

Sunday, January 31, 2021 | 7:34 PM

There weren’t many fans to witness it, but Aquinas Academy sophomore Vinnie Cugini made WPIAL history Friday night.

The 6-foot-1 guard scored his 1,000th career point in the Crusaders’ 84-76 loss to Leechburg, his 29th game at the tiny private Catholic school in Hampton.

Cugini became the fastest player in WPIAL history to reach the milestone, surpassing former Valley great Tom Pipkins, who needed 42 games to reach 1,000 points as a sophomore in the 1990-91 season.

Cugini set the mark with a put-back off his own miss in the first quarter of the WPIAL Class A game. He entered the night with 998 points and finished with 37.

He scored 46 in Saturday’s 75-52 nonsection win over Portersville Christian, giving him 1,081 for his career entering Tuesday night’s game at Imani Christian.

“It was nice for sure,” Cugini said. “It was like a dream come true.”

Aquinas Academy was ready for the milestone. They immediately stopped the game and Cugini was presented with a dated game ball and a poster to memorialize his achievement.

“There were a couple people there,” Cugini said, “so they announced it and gave me a ball and our photographer took a couple pictures and they resumed the game.”

Later in the game, Leechburg senior Dylan Cook also joined the 1,000-point club and was recognized for his feat.

Cugini, who lives in Morningside, leads the WPIAL in scoring at 38.6 points per game for the Crusaders (1-3 in Section 3-1A, 5-3 overall) after averaging a league-best 34.2 last season as a freshman.

Cugini, who is on pace to break Pipkins’ WPIAL career scoring record of 2,838 points set from 1990-93, already has two 50-point games this season. He scored 55 against Nazareth Prep on Jan. 22 and 52 against St. Joseph on Jan. 26.

“He’s just becoming a better player all the time,” Aquinas coach George Yokitis said. “He’s only going to become better. He has a very, very exciting future.”


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