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Fox Chapel boys out to replace pair of 1,000-point scorers

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Jan Pakler | For Trib Total Media
Fox Chapel basketball coach Zach Skrinjar leads the team in a chant at the end of practice.
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Dan Speicher | For Trib Total Media
Fox Chapel Senior Billy Urso, practices Friday, Nov. 21, 2014, at Fox Chapel High School.

The big dilemma for followers of Fox Chapel boys basketball will be how to replace a pair of three-year starters who each scored more than 1,000 points.

Brian Papich and all-time FC leading scorer Matt D’Amico have graduated and sixth-year coach Zach Skrinjar realizes that it will be very tough to replace what they provided to the team.

“We can’t, and are not even going to try to, replace the individual scoring totals of Papich and D’Amico,” Skrinjar said. “What we will do though is spread that total out over a group of players and have a more balanced attack with different players chipping in each night to make up those points.”

The Foxes finished with a 17-5 record last year and fell in the first round of the WPIAL Class AAAA playoffs. They will have 5-foot-10 senior guard Billy Urso and 6-2 senior David Brown returning to the starting lineup.

“We’ll be counting on them to provide leadership,” Skrinjar said. “Brown is injured right now, but we’re hoping to have him back in about a month.”

Other key returning players are 6-5 senior Jack Lundy, 6-5 sophomore Jake Livingston, 6-1 junior Brendan Urso, 6-0 junior Tommy Smith, 6-4 junior Mike Zappala, 6-0 senior Josh Dunlap, 6-6 senior Erik Ovick and 5-10 freshman Carson Cohen.

“We have the most size that we have ever had,” Skrinjar said. “And we will need to use that to our advantage on the offensive and the defensive end. To be successful, we will need to continue to mesh as a squad. We have numerous players who can fill different roles, and finding the right mix at the right times, and the players continuing to compete in practice and in the games, will be a key for us.

“We are also going to have to mature very fast because we are in a very competitive section and our nonconference schedule is very challenging, with the likes of Hampton, Allderdice and Central Catholic all on the road. I like how this group has worked together. Every day in practice we see glimpses of improvement and, with it being so early in the season, that is all we can ask for as coaches.”

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

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