Santana Sinvilcin ’24 Scores 1,000th Point in Gunn Basketball

Santana Sinvilcin '24 and family

Santana Sinvilcin ’24 scored five of eight from the three-point line in the Boys Varsity Basketball game at home against King School on December 13. But it was his first three-pointer of the night that mattered the most. About two minutes into the game, Sinvilcin came down the court and positioned himself in his favorite shooting spot, just outside of the three-point line. Jack Guevara ’24 passed him the ball and Sinvilcin floated it up for three – scoring his 1,000th point for Gunn.

The milestone was made even sweeter by family and friends, who rushed onto the court to celebrate with Sinvilcin. His teammates were ready with a handmade “1,000 points” banner, and his mom, Nydia Blackwell P’24, brought a few boxes of his favorite Krispy Kreme doughnuts to be enjoyed after the game.

“He worked so hard for this. This has been a dream come true — 1,000 points,” said Blackwell, who noted that Sinvilcin’s grandfather, Louis Blackwell GP'24, an uncle, two aunts, and brothers were also in attendance.

“He’s been playing since the age of four. He played in New York City. He’s been all over,” said his father, Shaaron Sinvilcin P'24, who played basketball in college, at Central Connecticut State University, and encouraged his son to pick up the game from an early age. Raised in Port Chester, New York, he played across Westchester County and in the city. “He loved it,” his dad said.

Head Coach Brian Konik, Ph.D., who is also Director of Counseling at Gunn, said Sinvilcin was inspired to score 1,000 points at Gunn after watching four-year senior Natalia Zappone ’23 hit the same milestone last January, in her 46th game at Gunn. “The desire he had to work towards having that kind of experience —  I think you could see that by how emotional he was during the celebration,” Konik said, emphasizing the commitment required to realize this level of accomplishment.

“It’s very hard,” Konik said. “He averaged almost 20 points a game his first two seasons, and that is very rare at our level, even for a top player in the league. And then this year, he’s averaged 30 points a game, which is a huge jump, and he’s exceeding everyone’s expectations.”

The game against King, which the Highlanders won 82 - 69, was only the fourth this season, but Sinvilcin knew he was getting close to achieving his goal. “I started tracking it last year, in my junior year. I was the leading scorer ever since I was a sophomore. It was pretty intense. I didn’t really care about it that much last year but then this year, of course, I wanted to score 1,000,” he said.

He put up 29 points in Gunn’s game against Pomfret School on December 2, and racked up another 32 points in the game against St. Luke’s on December 8, which brought him to 997 points prior to the game December 13, just three points shy of his goal.

Asked how he maintains his commitment to the game, Sinvilcin said his dad and his teammates encourage him to get up every day and practice: “I just put in a lot of work. I’m a very dedicated person in basketball. I get up every morning and work on my game. I’m dedicated to putting in the work every day.” 

As for how he planned to celebrate, Sinvilcin said: “My celebration is going to be just resting.”

Konik credited Sinvilcin for stepping up and doing whatever the team needs him to do, especially this season. “We have a lot of new players on the team who are taking time to adjust to how competitive the league is, and then we've also had kids who have been sick or injured, and he has had to step up. He has always been willing and able to do that. He’s been leading the team in rebounds. You can ask him to put in his maximum defense effort on the other team’s best player, and he’ll do that. He fills the need that the team has.”

Sinvilcin is also one of those players who has a talent for positioning himself on the court in a way that maximizes his ability. Whether that means cutting towards the basket or positioning himself outside the three-point line, he puts himself in those situations, Konik said.

His accomplishment is inspirational, and has already brought the team closer together, as evidenced by the fact that Sinvilcin’s teammates organized their friends to come out and celebrate his big moment. “The kids supporting each other really brings the team together. It also helps the younger kids on the team. Freshmen and sophomores look at that and say, ‘Hard work pays off.’ I’ve been coaching for over 25 years and Santana is one of the hardest, if not the hardest worker that I’ve ever coached. Everybody knows that he’s going to be in the gym before school and after school. He’s going to go to bed early and make all the right choices and decisions. It’s hard to argue that success follows hard work when he’s such a clear example of it,” Konik said.

Additional Images

Sinvilcin scoring his 1,000th point in the December 13th game against King School

Highlanders celebrating courtside

Sinvilcin gets a hug from his grandfather, Louis Blackwell GP'24.

Santana Sinvilcin '24 and family

Sinvilcin with his family and the celebratory banner made by friends and teammates

Photo credit: Doug Day

Santana Sinvilcin '24 with roommates and teammates Tyler Novenstein '24 and Taylor Brown '24