Fox Chapel clinches playoff berth with win at Central Catholic
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Fox Chapel has a clean slate.
Senior guard Matt D'Amico scored a game-high 21 points, and Billy Urso added 12 to lead Fox Chapel (16-5, 9-5) to a 56-50 win over Section 2-AAAA rival Central Catholic (11-10, 8-6) on the road Friday.
With the win, the Foxes clinched third place in the section, putting them in the playoffs for back-to-back years. Central Catholic finished fifth and will miss the playoffs for the first time since 2011.
“Everyone's record is back to 0-0,” Fox Chapel coach Zach Skrinjar said. “When we kind of figured out the section (title) wasn't in the cards, we just wanted to get in. It was a great game, a great atmosphere, and I'm just really happy that I get to spend a few more days with these guys on the basketball court.”
The game served as a de facto playoff game, with the loser going home and the winner advancing to the postseason, which is exactly why Fox Chapel expected to win.
“For the past week and a half, we've been in playoff mode because we had to win out,” D'Amico said. “I saw heart, passion, determination, everything. Before the game, we were all mentally focused.
“We all came together, and I could see it in every one of the players here.”
Skrinjar saw the same things from his players.
“I had a lot of confidence going in,” Skrinjar said. “They seemed very loose. They seemed like they had a lot of confidence, and I just thought we had more (than Central Catholic). It seemed like it was kind of meant to be that we get in (to the playoffs).”
After splitting its first six section games, Fox Chapel went 6-2 over its final eight, including a 79-66 win over Central Catholic in the first matchup Jan. 14.
At times, it seemed like Central Catholic would avenge that loss Friday.
Fox Chapel missed 12 of its first 14 shots, and the Vikings opened a 13-7 first-quarter lead, holding D'Amico scoreless in the process.
“No basketball is ever going in the hoop unless you shoot it,” Skrinjar said. “We took guys out just to tell them to shoot.”
D'Amico came alive quickly, scoring seven of his team's 12 points in the second quarter to send the Foxes into halftime leading 19-17.
Fox Chapel then stretched its lead to 42-26 early in the fourth before Central Catholic answered with a 12-2 run to get within 44-38. The Vikings closed to within 48-44 but got no closer.
David Brown, who finished with nine points hit several key free throws late to help seal the win.
“It was atypical of our season — played a good quarter, bad quarter, sort of inconsistent,” Central Catholic coach Chuck Crummie said. “It was tough to get our chemistry together, but I thought we battled back there.”
Alex Schoppen led the Vikings with 16 points, and Bricen Garner added 10.
Brian Papich scored seven points for Fox Chapel and needs just 16 to reach 1,000 for his career.
Plum won the Section 2-AAAA title with an 11-3 record. Franklin Regional (10-4) was second. Gateway (9-5) also qualified.
Gary Horvath is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com.
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.
- Uptempo style of play leads to strong start for Bishop Canevin boys
- Daily News roundup: TJ boys down Montour in nonsection game
- Franklin Regional girls looking for consistency
- Sewickley Academy boys basketball off to fast start
- Quaker Valley girls basketball poised to win now
- Fox Chapel’s Urso adjusts quickly between football, basketball
- Harris develops into team leader for Gateway boys
- Family atmosphere featured in Baldwin boys basketball program
- Perz providing Norwin boys basketball a scoring spark
- Injuries won’t dash South Fayette girls basketball’s hopes
- Chartiers Valley boys basketball competes, bonds in Arizona