Saturday, January 7, 2023, TRIB-LIVE
After graduating every starter from a team that won a WPIAL Class 6A title and reached the PIAA semifinals last season, Fox Chapel boys basketball coach Zach Skrinjar expected to put his roster through a bevy of learning experiences this year.
That’s why anyone following the Foxes has seen plenty of close scores in the box scores this season, and Skrinjar doesn’t expect that to change.
“When we put together the schedule, we want to put together something that will help us throughout the year,” Skrinjar said. “We practice things in the preseason, but there’s no substitute for game-day situations. With a younger group, that pays dividends.”
Fox Chapel (7-4, 0-1) has acquired enough experience to keep everyone honest. Three of the Foxes’ losses — to Kiski Area, Hampton and Pine-Richland — came by a combined nine points. Fox Chapel lost its Section 2-5A opener to Penn Hills, 49-37, Jan. 3 on the road.
“We’re consistently inconsistent,” Skrinjar said. “We’re trying to get better. Some days we look better than others.”
Junior guard Jefferson Moorefield-Brown and Kam Greil have both stepped up into roles to help the Foxes weather the transition. Moorefield-Brown averages 14 points per game, while Greil averages 10.
Seniors Erik Wilson and Jimmy Hanna, along with junior Will Siegel, have also served in important roles.
Having to adjust to taking on new tasks isn’t limited to those few players.
“Everyone is a new role,” Skrinjar said. “That’s what happens when you graduate so many guys. Everyone is still working on things and adjusting.”
What is of principal concern to Skrinjar is how Fox Chapel plays defensively. The Foxes are locked in a black-and-blue type of section. Shaler, Woodland Hills, Penn Hills and Armstrong all allow 50 or fewer points a game. No team in the section scores more than 61 points per game.
Fox Chapel isn’t far behind.
The Foxes have allowed 50.9 points per game so far this season.
Skrinjar believes that where Fox Chapel needs to improve on its consistency.
“Everything comes back to the defensive end and our principles,” Skrinjar said. “We haven’t been able to string stops together. We want to get three stops in a row. A lot of times, we will get one or two, not get to three.”