Friday November 26, 2021 | 4:44 p.m.
This season’s Fox Chapel boys’ basketball t-shirt has just one word: focus.
The “O” is shaped like a basketball with the Foxes logo, while the “F” and “C” are in red and the “US” is in white.
Coach Zach Skrinjar said “focus” is the simple but important theme the team adopts as they prepare to defend their Section 3-6A title and advance to the WPIAL playoffs.
âEvery day we just want to focus on what we’re doing and improve as a team to work towards the same goals every year, which is competing for a section title and a WPIAL championship,â he said. he declares. âThis is our expectation. It takes that focus and commitment with every exercise and game in the gym. “
Fox Chapel lost four senior starters in the 2019-20 team who went 22-2 overall and 10-0 in the sectional game.
The Foxes reloaded last year and maintained their success amid WPIAL-wide covid uncertainties to the tune of an overall score of 20-3 and a 9-1 record in the section. They dominated Bethel Park and North Allegheny in the first round and quarterfinals of WPIAL before losing to Pine-Richland in the semifinals.
Eli Yofan, Valley News Dispatch Player of the Year, leads a contingent of four returning starters that also includes 6-1 senior guard JP Dockey, 5-10 senior guard Jake DeMotte and 6-3 senior forward Russ Fenton.
âThey’ve all played college minutes since they were in second year, and they understand what the goals are and what needs to be done,â Skrinjar said. âThe point of the program is always to prepare for the next group when you lose some really talented players and are able to stay competitive. This is the time of this group. They are truly great leaders and solid examples for the next generation that will come out of this. “
Kent Baldauf (8.9 points) was the only starter lost for graduation.
Yofan, who also started as a sophomore, was a jack of all trades for the Foxes last year as he led the team with 22.4 points per game while averaging 7.3 rebounds, 3 , 5 assists, 2.7 steals and 1.3 blocks.
âWhen he’s on the pitch he makes everyone better,â Skrinjar said. âHe’s such a leader and a competitor. He has a good group around him, and they all trust each other. It can start with him, but we’re definitely not where we are without the other guys on the pitch. They all came on a mission to have the best possible season. “
Dockey won VND’s third team accolades last year after averaging 11.3 points, 5.0 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 3.0 steals.
Junior goaltender Kam Greil is expected to fill the vacant position after a strong second-year campaign where he was the most consistent player on the bench (22 games) and averaged 2.6 points per game.
âKam has really matured a lot and accepted his role,â said Skrinjar. âHe’s doing well in training and making the most of this time. He loves basketball. We are really counting on him to have a great year.
Skrinjar said knowing how far the rotation can go is a work in progress.
âEvery year we talk about going deep,â he said. âIt’s always a goal. Last year we mostly only had six depths so we have new guys coming up that we have high hopes for. We are now looking to build as much depth as possible. “
Skrinjar said others are expected to come to the fore on Saturday as the Foxes take on Thomas Jefferson and Hampton.
He said second-year guard / striker Jefferson Moorefield-Brown 6-0 and junior guard Eric Wilson 6-0 should have an impact in the rotation.
Colin Kwiatkowski, a 6-5 senior center, is back with the schedule, and Skrinjar has said he is expected to register a decent number of college minutes.
Skrinjar said the Section will be a battle again with players like Hempfield, Penn-Trafford and Central Catholic looking to eliminate the Foxes from their two-year reign as champions.
âI think the section will be pretty well balanced again,â Skrinjar said. âWe can’t wait to compete with everyone. “
The Foxes host Allderdice in a scrum on December 7, and that leads to the season opener in North Hills on December 10 and 11. Fox Chapel opens with Hampton in the semifinals.
âIf that works, we could face North Hills on day two, and they’re one of the best teams in WPIAL,â Skrinjar said. “The tournament overall will be a very good start to the season for us.”
Fox Chapel Boys at a glance
Coach: Zach Skrinjar
Record of last year: 20-3 (9-1 Section 3-6A)
Return Entries: Eli Yofan (Sr., G), JP Dockey (Sr., G), Jake DeMotte (Sr., G), Russ Fenton (Sr., F)
The best newcomers: Jefferson Moorefield-Brown (Soph., G / F), Colin Kwiatkowski (Sr., C)
Key words: Chapel of the Fox