North Allegheny blitzes Fox Chapel with late run
Fox Chapel was thinking upset for a little more than three quarters on Saturday afternoon.
But No. 2-seeded North Allegheny limited the Foxes to one field goal in the final 6:12 to come away with a 79-61 victory in a WPIAL Class AAAA boys basketball quarterfinal at North Hills High School.
The Foxes trailed, 15-14, at the end of the first quarter, led, 34-33, at the half and were behind, 52-51, at the end of three quarters. But after Matt D'Amico, who led Fox Chapel with 23 points and seven rebounds, hit a basket to give the Foxes a 55-54 lead with 6:12 remaining, the Tigers went on a 25-6 run to seal the victory.
North Allegheny (21-3) advances to the semifinals Wednesday against Section 3 rival Hampton at a site and time to be determined.
Top-ranked New Castle faces Section 3 foe Seneca Valley, meaning the four semifinalists in Class AAAA are all from the same section.
The only way the Foxes (17-7) can qualify for the PIAA tournament is if North Allegheny wins the WPIAL title.
R.J. Colabrese, who led the Tigers with 18 points, including 10 for 10 from the line, hit two free throws to give North Allegheny the lead for good with 6:00 left.
A Fox Chapel turnover resulted in a basket by Adam Haus, another Foxes turnover near midcourt led to a 3-pointer by Luke Soyster, and the Tigers were on their way.
“I thought in the second half, our pressure was much better,” North Allegheny coach Dave DeGregorio said. “We didn't get separation before because we didn't make our shots. But I like what we did; we turned them over and got our pace going. I thought that was big.”
Fox Chapel committed 13 turnovers in the second half; NA just one. James Meeker had seven rebounds for North Allegheny.
The Foxes' bench thought the 10-second call was premature, but coach Zach Skrinjar didn't think the game boiled down to one play.
“That's a momentum swing, but it was still a one-possession game,” Skrinjar said. “Probably the other five times we didn't do a good job of executing hurt us more than that.”
Another factor was bench scoring. North Allegheny's reserves scored 21 points, while David Brown (three points) was the only Fox Chapel backup to score.
“Toward the end, we really couldn't get into a flow and we were doing uncharacteristic things on our own,” Skrinjar said. “We were comfortable the whole game up until then. It was some self-inflicted wounds toward the end, probably a little fatigue. When you get tired, you're going to do some things — your body's doing one thing and your mind's doing another thing.”
George Guido is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.