Trib HSSN boys basketball player of the week — Week ending Jan. 11, 2020

Monday, January 13, 2020 | 7:36 PM

A lot of eyebrows were raised on Tuesday when Frank Stumpo had a game for the ages in a Keystone Oaks victory.

The senior guard scored 51 points and the Golden Eagles needed nearly all of those points in an 80-75 victory at Freedom.

“I think his shot selection and decision making were exceptional as he was 18 for 26 from the field and only committed two turnovers,” Keystone Oaks coach Phil McGivney said. “He was also 14 of 17 from the free throw line. I believe that those numbers say a tremendous amount about his play and efficiency.”

Stumpo came back to earth in a big section showdown with first place North Catholic on Friday. He tallied “only” 31 points in the Golden Eagles’ 26-point loss to the Trojans.

“I thought as a team, our shot selection and patience against North Catholic was very good,” McGivney said. “Frank led the team by being patient and he let the game come to him.”

As he winds down his scholastic career, Stumpo is a proven big-time scorer, but McGivney has noticed a difference in his game this season.

“The biggest improvement has been his ability to shoot the mid-range jumper going in both directions,” he said. “In the past, he relied on his 3-point shot, but he recognized that he had to do something different in order to be more effective.

“He put in a lot of hours this offseason working on that and I am really happy to see him have success. His two-point field goal percentage is over 50%. The other area that has improved is his ability to recognize the double, limit his dribble and hit his open teammate.”

Keystone Oaks is in the middle of the pack in Section 2-3A. As a senior, Stumpo is doing whatever he can in an effort to return the team to the postseason.

“Frank has been a leader on and off the floor,” McGivney said. “We really challenged him this offseason about his role as a leader, bringing the energy every day in practice to the team, and he has done an exceptional job in that area.

“He has also been the guy that kept the guys together when things aren’t going well. He has been very good with our younger players by helping them grow and develop.”

The Golden Eagles visit neighbor Seton LaSalle to close out the first half of section play Tuesday.

Keystone Oaks sits in fifth place, one game behind both Carlynton and Avonworth.

“I think we are in good position and still control our own destiny,” McGivney said. “We have faced adversity, played some very good nonsection teams and at this point, I think we are starting to jell and play together. Our best basketball is ahead of us.”

Honorable mention

Ethan Morton, Butler

Purdue recruit Ethan Morton was banged up earlier this year. This week, he put the hurting on Pine-Richland and Central Catholic. The Butler senior had 33 points, 23 rebounds and 12 assists in a thrilling 88-84 overtime win over Pine-Richland. He followed that great game up with 31 points in a 12-point victory over Central Catholic.

Gamal Marballie, Yough

After a good start, Yough struggled and hit a rough patch coming into last week. Junior Gamal Marballie scored 30 points in a section loss to Derry and followed up with 37 points in a two-point loss to Freeport. Finally on Saturday, Marballie scored 31 points and Yough ended an eight-game losing streak with a seven-point win over Frazier.

Vinnie Cugini, Aquinas Academy

If you didn’t realize that Aquinas Academy was back in the WPIAL this boys basketball season, one of the district’s top scorers is letting everybody know. Freshman Vinnie Cugini scored 35 and 29 points in section wins over St. Joseph and Propel Montour. Then on Saturday, Cugini dropped 40 points in the Crusaders’ 103-99 double overtime loss to Geibel Catholic.

Previous Trib HSSN Players of the Week:

Week 3 – Adou Thiero, Quaker Valley

Week 2 – Camden Polak, Steel Valley

Week 1 – Jake Hoffman, Mt. Lebanon

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