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Fox Chapel coach leading all-star team

| Wednesday, April 3, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Valley News Dispatch
Fox Chapel Head Coach Zach Skrinjar watches players Matt D'Amico (L) and Brian Papich during practice at Fox Chapel High School Monday November 26, 2012 Bill Shirley | For The Valley News Dispatch
Jan Pakler | for The Herald
Fox Chapel coach Zach Skrinjar.

The Champions High School Classic game will be played at Penn Hills High School on April 7 at 5 p.m. and the game will have a Fox Chapel flavor to it.

Fox Chapel High School boys basketball coach Zach Skrinjar will be coaching the WPIAL team that will be facing the City League All Stars.

Skrinjar will also have his staff assisting him, and Fox Chapel senior Nate Huwar will be on the team.

“This will be my first time coaching an all star game and I am very honored to be chosen to coach the team, another nice reward for our successful season as a team,” Skrinjar said. “All of my assistants from Fox Chapel will be coaching with me — Joe Farrell, Matt Michaux and my younger brother Gabe Skrinjar, and we are all excited.”

As far as strategy, Skrinjar said the coaching staff will stress sharing the ball.

“I have always thought that individuals all tend to play better as a group, and with all of the talent we have, scoring shouldn't be a problem,” he said.

“I'm sure in some situations we will pull out a few plays from the FC archives and see if we can get some sets, but for the most part, it's a players showcase so as coaches, I think we are all looking forward to sitting back and watching the players take over.”

Skrinjar said he and his staff will distribute playing time equally through most of the contest. But during the game's final minutes, he plans to play the guys who have played the best in an effort to win the game.

“We will talk to the players about this strategy before the game,” he said.

As for defense, Skrinjar said his team will play man-to-man and will “emphasize playing fundamental help defense, hedging on ball screens and boxing out and then pushing the ball to try and get some easy buckets out of transition.

“Getting back on defense will also be something that we stress to our team,” he said.

Skrinjar is looking forward to having Huwar on the team.

“After he won the 3-point contest at the Cager Classic, I texted him that maybe I should have ran more plays for him to shoot,” Skrinjar said. “He said it was all luck but when he gets hot, he can knock them down in bunches. I wasn't shocked to see that he won it.

“As for Nate and the game, I think I have him on the second five. My coaches and I are looking forward to coaching him again because he's a special player and a great young man. We have a tight bond with him and we can't wait to get out there with him to compete one more time. It should be a lot of fun.”

Along with Huwar being selected to the team, two other FC players received some post-season accolades. Juniors Matt Damico and Brian Papich both made the all-section team with Damico garnering 38 of 42 votes. Damico also made the Trib's Top 10 Players in the WPIAL squad.

“That's some pretty good achievements for a pair of juniors,” Skrinjar said.

Marty Stewart is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-782-2123 or

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