Gateway duo leads WPIAL to win
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Fox Chapel coach Zach Skrinjar had a pretty laid-back approach on how to handle the WPIAL bench Sunday for the 38th annual Western Pa. High School Basketball Classic against the City League all-stars at Penn Hills High School.
“I told them that we were all going to have fun,” Skrinjar said. “In the end, we were going to play to win and whoever was playing the quote-unquote ‘best' was going to get after it. It's kind of hard for these kids because they're all the best players, and they want to be out there the whole time, but I thought they shared the ball well, and it ended up working out for us.”
It would be hard to argue with the result. Deon Cottrell-Baker of Gateway scored what turned out to be the game-winning basket on a one-handed alley-oop layup off an inbounds pass with 33.2 seconds remaining then capped it with a finger roll as time expired for a 77-74 WPIAL victory.
Gateway senior guard D.J. Boyce was named most valuable player after scoring a team-best 15 points.
The MVP was given automatically to the leading scorer from the winning team, while the participants were selected a bit more arbitrarily.
“They were chosen by the staff and some other coaches,” Skrinjar said.
“We also had to determine who was playing in other all-star games. All of that was taken into consideration as well as availability.”
For several, like McKeesport guard Jamie Grayson, this game was something of a farewell to organized basketball. Though he will attend Akron, he does not plan on playing collegiately.
“It was fun and it was a nice experience with those guys, and I'd like to do it again,” Grayson said. “I don't want to give the game up, but it was fun while it lasted.”
At regular intervals, Skrinjar replaced all five players in an effort to give each of the participants equal time on the floor.
Perhaps the biggest difference between this game and a regular-season or playoff game was the lack of PIAA-imposed restrictions. That meant players on both sides could dunk in the pregame and second-half warm-ups without worrying about drawing a technical foul.
In fact, it took the players a few minutes before they realized they could take a few shots above the rim in the pregame.
“This is an all-star game, and, at this level of hoops, it's all about being comfortable,” Woodland Hills forward Tom Greene, a California (Pa.) University football recruit, said. “It's my last game as a hooper in high school, and I just wanted to have fun with my friends before I leave.”
In the end, it was about the fun, but there is something to be said about putting on a good show for the crowd.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Teams set mark for 3-pointers as East boys nip West, 110-109, in Cager Classic
- Bordonaro boosts East girls to 79-72 victory in Cager Classic
- Montgomery’s 3s help team to Cager Classic win
- Longtime Westminster coach’s influence is felt in WPIAL basketball
- Kittanning senior Kunst shoots lights out at Cager Classic skills event
- Seton-La Salle coach’s system validated with back-to-back berths in WPIAL finals
- PIAA committee wants to revive western final