ShareThis Page

Fox Chapel boys reflect on narrow losses

| Friday, Feb. 12, 2016, 8:33 p.m.
Fox Chapel junior guard Elias Panos secures the ball against Shady Side Academy senior guard Eric Yoest during the annual Peter Sauer Memorial tournment Dec. 30, at Shady Side Academy.
Jan Pakler | For Trib Total Media
Fox Chapel junior guard Elias Panos secures the ball against Shady Side Academy senior guard Eric Yoest during the annual Peter Sauer Memorial tournment Dec. 30, at Shady Side Academy.

Legendary Steelers coach Chuck Noll once said that coming close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.

The Fox Chapel boys basketball team can relate to that. The Foxes were on the short end of multiple cliffhangers this season and missed the WPIAL Class AAAA playoffs.

The Foxes finished with a 7-7 record in Section 2-AAAA and were 11-11 overall.

“I felt like this season we were always a few plays away,” FC coach Zach Skrinjar said. “Players didn't fully commit to make plays when we needed them, and we created too many self-inflicted wounds in the form of turnovers, missed defensive assignments, foul trouble or poor shooting nights when we could least afford them.

“These things and others led to missed opportunities early in the season and, eventually, us missing the playoffs by a game. I did like the way we finished the second half of the section. As a group, we committed more to a team concept, and the players accepted coaching better. I'm hopeful this will carry on into the offseason and next year.”

The Foxes will lose leading scorer Mike Zappala (14 ppg), Brendan Urso, Tommy Smith and Mike Marsico to graduation but will be bolstered by the return of Jake Livingston (13 ppg), Dimitri Spina, Carson Cohen, Michael Snowball and Ben Kelly.

“After having end-of-season meetings with the players returning, we had some honest feedback, and the players seemed to be committed to improving both individually and as a team,” Skrinjar said. “Talking about it is one thing, though. As coaches, we're looking forward to seeing the talking backed up by actions.”

Skrinjar pondered what might have been if the Foxes had converted a few narrow losses into wins, including losses to Franklin Regional (68-64), McKeesport (54-50), Plum (58-52), Woodland Hills (52-48), Gateway (61-54) and Penn Hills (60-55).

“The Quad-A field is wide open this year, and that is my only regret,” he said. “Had we gotten in, I really think we could have done some good things and made a run at it. Sometimes, it's just not meant to be.”

Marty Stewart is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-782-2123 or

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using 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.

click me