Fox Chapel boys knock down Gateway, take control of section
“This is our house and we take pride in defending it.” — FC coach Zach Skrinjar
The Fox Chapel High School boys basketball team used a combination of defense, pride and timely shooting to defeat visiting Gateway before a packed house on Friday.
The Foxes used a big second quarter to post a 53-37 win and vault into first place in Section 2-AAAA.
It was Senior Night and a raucous student section was on hand to try to give the Foxes an edge.
“The place was packed,” FC coach Zach Skrinjar said. “The support was overwhelming. The kids in the student section came out in full force.”
Not that the Foxes needed any outside help on this night.
“We executed exactly as we practiced all week,” Skrinjar said. “Our guys did a fantastic job of boxing out. Our feeling coming into this game was that this is our house and we wanted to defend it.
“I can't say enough about the defensive effort.”
Once again, it was the Foxes' dynamic junior duo of Matt D'Amico and Brian Papich that fueled the win. D'Amico had 19 points while Papich added 13. Billy Urso scored 11, including a couple of clutch 3-pointers.
“We knew how important this game was and we played as a team,” Papich said. “People say we'll have problems because of our lack of height but we've been proving them wrong all season.”
Skrinjar agreed with that assessment.
“Yeah, were not the biggest team but these guys bust their butt every day, in practice or in games,” he said.
“We run some tough practices and they never complain. In order to win the big games, you have to work hard and these guys have done that all year. What makes this such a great bunch to coach is the team chemistry.
“They all like each other and work together so well.”
The win put the Foxes in a first-place tie with Central Catholic.
“We control our destiny,” Skrinjar said. “We've got an edge because we're finishing out the season at home. I told the kids to enjoy this win for a day and then we start focusing on our next game.”
Earlier in the week, the Foxes beat Penn Hills, 66-55, on Jan. 29. Papich had 21 points and 10 rebounds while D'Amico netted 17 points and 10 rebounds. Senior Nate Huwar and Billy Urso each scored 10.
FC entered this week 15-4 overall and 10-2 in the section.
Marty Stewart is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-782-2123 or firstname.lastname@example.org.