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MacQuarrie becomes member of the 2,000-point club

Kevin Gorman
| Sunday, Jan. 14, 2001

Allan MacQuarrie was a freshman at Pine-Richland when he walked into Valley's gymnasium and noticed a banner hanging from the wall that proclaimed Tom Pipkins as the WPIAL's all-time leading scorer with 2,838 points.

'That's cool,' MacQuarrie thought at the time. 'I want a banner like that.'

He just might get one.

MacQuarrie became the 15th member of the WPIAL's 2,000-point club when he scored 17 points Friday against Fox Chapel. MacQuarrie, who now has 2,004 career points, could see two others join him by the end of the season.

At his 28-points per game pace, Blackhawk's Brandon Fuss-Cheatham (1,917 points) should break the mark within the next three games. Shady Side Academy's Mark Lovett (1,692), who averages 18.8 points, might need the Indians to successfully defend their PIAA Class AA championship to join them.

'I can't think of anything better than breaking the 2,000-point mark in the state championship game,' Lovett said, 'except for winning the state title.'

Reaching 2,000 points is a growing trend in the WPIAL, as more players spend four years averaging double figures. The result has been the rapid growth in the past decade of what once was an exclusive club.

Wampum's Don Hennon (2,376), German Township's Sam Sims (2,138) and Wilmington's Warren Sallade (2,014) were the only members of the 2,000-point club from 1959 until 1991, when New Brighton's Gabe Jackson (2,011) joined them. Since then, 11 others have eclipsed 2,000 points in their career.

'I think to get 2,000, you almost have to play as a freshman and be a major factor in scoring,' Pine-Richland coach Dave DeGregorio said. 'It's a great milestone and a great individual accomplishment, but if you'd ask Allan, he'd rather finish with 1,999 points if he could win a WPIAL championship.'

Blackhawk coach John Miller noted that the institution of the 3-point shot in the late 1980s helped shooters improve their scoring averages, and the expanded WPIAL and PIAA playoffs have extended the season, giving scorers more games to reach 2,000 points.

To accomplish the feat, players must score in the 20s on a consistent basis, stay injury-free and play for a winner. Several WPIAL stars weren't able to do that and will finish their carers this season just a shade under 2,000:

  • Mt. Lebanon guard Tyler Bluemling, who has 1,452 points, is averaging 21.1 points per game this season and will need a lengthy postseason run to have a chance. The Blue Devils, however, will have to battle to make it out of tough Section 5-AAAA and feature Bluemling more in their motion offense.

  • Montour forward Daren Tielsch started as a freshman, but transferred to Blackhawk as a sophomore and averaged 10 points off the bench for the WPIAL and PIAA Class AAA champions. Had Tielsch, who has 1,413 points, stayed at Montour, his career scoring average might have been higher.

  • Aliquippa guard Bernard Lay saw action as a freshman, then averaged about 17 points per game as a starter the next two seasons despite playing in a 10-man rotation. Lay has about 1,300 career points even though he has missed several games the past two years because of either football injuries or illnesses.

  • Seton-La Salle guard Bruce Gradkowski played mostly junior varsity at Keystone Oaks as a freshman. He missed all but 12 games of his sophomore year at Seton with a broken ankle, but averaged 18 points in the games he played. A 21.3-point scorer who has 1,227 points in his career, Gradkowski might have been within range had he not missed so many games.

    MacQuarrie, for one, is just glad that he is able to count his name among the top scorers in WPIAL history. Even if he doesn't get a banner.

    'It's one of those things you can keep all your life,' MacQuarrie said. 'At some point, you stop playing basketball. But you can always look back and say, 'I scored 2,000 points in high school.''

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