Owen McCue (@Owen_McCue)
DOYLESTOWN — For the first two seasons of his high school career, Central Bucks East’s Jake Cummiskey played with his older brother Liam and his buddies.
Liam’s now at Moravian continuing his hoops career and the rest of the group Jake started with two seasons ago graduated as well.
Now, it’s Jake’s turn to play with his friends and it’s going well. The Patriots have rolled out to an 8-0 start after Thursday night’s 60-53 win over North Penn.
“Last year just like that with a snap of the finger with my brother it was over,” Cummiskey said. “That was so much fun because our parents love it obviously. Our whole family loved it. This year, it’s my boys and I don’t want the season to end. It’s going great so far. We’re all loving it.”
Central Bucks East won a pair of Suburban One Colonial Division titles and made a District 1-6A semifinal appearance during Cummiskey’s freshman and sophomore seasons. He hit a pair of game-winners during the semifinal run in 2021.
C.B. East's Jake Cummiskey is playing with his buddies instead of his older brother's friends this season. (Photo: Jack Verdeur/CoBL)
This season’s group is rolling, now 5-0 in league play, the last undefeated Class 6A team in District 1 and one of just three overall unbeatens (Radnor, Chester Charter) in the district.
Cummiskey had 15 points, seven boards and three assists on Thursday. He’s teaming with senior guard Joey Giordano (16 points, seven boards) in the Patriots’ backcourt this season.
“I’ve been through with (Joe) Jackman my freshman year, (Nick) Rivera last year and this year Joey’s just a dog,” Cummiskey said. “He never gets tired, unselfish, plays D the whole game. It’s been a lot of fun. We have a good relationship. We know when to hold each other accountable. We know when to lift each other up, and we’re talking the entire game.”
C.B. East led 14-12 after one quarter Thursday as Cummiskey had seven early points. Giordano had 10 in the second to help the Patriots open up a 31-18 advantage at half.
They led by as many as 16 in the third, but North Penn — led by 19 points form Teddy McAllister — the Knights whittled the lead all the way down to five with less than four minutes left.
C.B. East rescinded with an 8-0 run, Cummiskey finishing off the stretch with a dagger three from the right corner with 1:21 left to put the Patriots ahead 57-44.
The shot — one of three 3-point makes on the day — highlighted an area Cummiskey spent a lot of time working on this offseason.
“That was the summer was lifting and 3-point shooting,” Cummiskey said. “Last year, I was good at driving but teams started learning how to guard me. They would collapse the paint, so that jump shot just had to be added.”
Cummiskey said the goal is to be an Ivy League guard someday, though he noted his college recruitment has been “a little more quiet than I’d like.” The combination of academics and athletics is alluring.
He listed Penn, Princeton, Bryant, Arkansas, Lafayette and Lehigh among the list of schools to contact him or check in this summer though he’s still waiting for strong interest from that level.
“I don’t care about that stuff,” Cummiskey said. “I don’t play basketball for that stuff. I play because it’s fun. I love to play. I like getting buckets. I like playing ‘D’. I like pushing the ball. This summer, is going to be huge for me in terms of college wise.”
C.B. East's Joey Giordano, left, and North Penn's Norman Gee go for a rebound during Thursday's game. (Jack Verdeur/CoBL)
Cummiskey’s grown an inch or two since his freshman year and he’s also made it his mission to tack on some muscle as well. The 6-foot-4 lefty point guard is adept at driving to the basket and has the length, athleticism and now strength to finish in the lane.
He’s a playmaker once he breaks down the defense as well, something that’s been a part of his game since starting organized basketball in first grade and something college coaches have told him they like.
Cummiskey was also honest about the criticism he received over the offseason. He took it to heart, attacking his offseason workouts with a purpose.
“I’ve gotten, ‘A little hesitant to shoot,’ which is why the whole summer was focused on that,” Cummiskey said. “I’ve gotten, ‘Over dribbles a little,’ so I’ve been trying to make more efficient moves, one dribble, two dribbles, make a play.”
Cummiskey is also taking on the match up of opponents' top players this season. He said his pull-up jumper is coming along, knocking down one on Thursday.
His coach has noticed the growth and its impact on the Patriots in their 8-0 start.
“He certainly came in and set the league on fire as a freshman, but each year he’s getting better and better,” C.B. East coach Erik Henrysen said of Cummiskey. “He’s a first team all-league guy. Each game, he’s putting it on the floor for us.”
Cummiskey will worry more about his future when the summer arrives, understanding a lot of the process is out of his hands. He’s having too much fun with this group to worry about much else than the season that lies ahead.
Players like Giordano, Tyler Dandrea (nine points), Kyle Berndt, Nick Condo, Nolan Jacob and others suited up with Cummiskey at the middle school level. They know how each other plays and all bring something unique to the table that have the different pieces fitting just right so far.
“This year, is a lot more fun,” Cummiskey said. “It’s all my friends. It’s a whole new wave. From that freshman team, I’m the only one left. This is all my boys. We’re having so much fun. The chemistry is there from the start. 8-0 start, looking good.”
Cummiskey said he’s letting the senior group take charge, often acting as the team’s ‘fun guy’ off the court. However, there’s something still ‘biting’ at him from last season — an upset loss to Perkiomen Valley in their district opener.
There’s plenty of season to go and a division title to capture, but Cummiskey and the Patriots want more.
“We’re definitely shooting for bigger this year,” Cummiskey said. “First-round exit last year, that’s still biting me, but hopefully we get a bye this year, win a couple games and get into the state tournament. We have bigger goals this year.”
ABINGTON 12 | 6 | 16 | 19 || 53
C.B. East 15 | 16 | 14 | 15 || 60
Norht Penn: Teddy McAllister 19, Norman Gee 9, Ryan Deininger 8, Robbie Sukaly 7, Mario Sgro 6, Ryan Zeltt 2, Corey Meade 2.
C.B. East: Joey Giordano 16, Jake Cummiskey 15, Tyler Dandrea 9, Jutin DiRobeto 8, Dhruv Mukund 6, Miles Demby 5, Nolan Jacob 2.