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Fox Chapel hoops stars shine in Cager Classic

| Wednesday, March 26, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
Erica Dietz | Valley News Dispatch
East Team's Brian Papich drives the ball to the hoop against West Team's Austin Miller during the Cager Classic at Highlands High School on Saturday, March 22, 2014.

The Cager Classic weekend began with the skills competition Friday at Highlands, and Fox Chapel's Brian Papich had to hurry to get there.

He ran in a track meet at Pine-Richland in the afternoon and then hustled to Natrona Heights.

“I didn't want to miss it,” he said. “I knew it would be a lot of fun and a nice way to close out my basketball career.”

His determination paid off as he teamed up with Ford City's Ally Kujas to win the Co-ed Team Hot Shot Contest and then finished second in the boys 3-point contest.

He also doubled up in the co-ed competition as he teamed up with Burrell's Jessica Cercone in order to fill a vacancy. They posted the second-highest score.

Teammate Matt D'Amico made it to the finals of the individual hot-shot finals and finished second as Hampton's Hayden Seserko won 36-28.

The games were played Saturday night, and Papich saved his best for last. He scored 27 points as his East team fell to the West, 112-109. Papich was named the East MVP, and his point total was the third-highest in the history of the event.

“That was a great weekend,” Papich said. “There was a lot of talent there and also an opportunity to get to know some of your rivals a lot better. It was fun.”

D'Amico finished with 13 points. He had a chance to send the game into overtime, but his last-second 3-pointer missed.

In the girls game, FC's Erin Mathias narrowly missed a double-double as she finished with 12 points and eight rebounds and her West team fell to the East, 81-64.

“It was a good time,” she said. “Everybody had fun, and it was a laid-back atmosphere. It was nice to play one more time for the local fans.”

Marty Stewart is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. Reach him at 412-782-2123 or mstewart@tribweb.com.

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