A-K Valley boys basketball notebook: 4 teams starting to find rhythm

Thursday, January 23, 2020 | 7:32 PM

Teams began the second half of section play this past week and hope to peak at the right time.

Heading into Thursday night’s games, four boys basketball teams from the Alle-Kiski Valley are on winning streaks of three games or more.

Fox Chapel (16-0) has dominated all season, with all but one of its wins coming by fewer than five points. The Foxes own the best defense in the WPIAL at 42.1 points per game and have received key contributions from several sophomores.

But even with the perfect start, Fox Chapel coach Zach Skrinjar is looking for improvement.

“I think we just have to establish an overall better consistency,” Skrinjar said. “I think with every team, we can take care of the basketball better. Execution-wise, just really being fined tuned. Setting good screens. It’s nothing huge, but just a lot of little things. I think fine-tuning little things can lead to success when you look at a bigger picture.”

Knoch lost to Youngstown Chaney (Ohio) in its opener but carried a 14-game winning streak into Thursday’s matchup with Deer Lakes. Knoch features a senior-laden roster along with star sophomore Ryan Lang.

The Knights’ streak could’ve come to an end Jan. 7 against then-No. 1 Highlands in a Section 1-4A matchup. But the Knoch held off a late charge during which the Golden Rams scored 30 points in the fourth quarter.

Since then, Highlands (14-2) has won its past four games, scoring 80, 81, 65 and 79 points with contributions from several players. The Golden Rams believe that loss might have been beneficial.

“I had another coach send me a pretty interesting little video,” Highlands coach Tyler Stoczynski said. “It said ‘Whenever there is adversity, good. And it’s good because you can take something away from it.’ We definitely took some things away from that Knoch loss, and we are better team because of it. So hopefully that shows over the next couple games.”

Highlands and Knoch play again at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Leechburg (10-5) is coming off wins over St. Joseph, Propel Andrew Street and Aquinas Academy. The Blue Devils will look to avenge one of their five losses Friday when they take on No. 3 Imani Christian.

The century mark

In Tuesday’s 103-61 victory at Aquinas Academy in Section 3-A, four players scored in double digits for Leechburg. Jake Blumer scored 36, Dylan Cook 26, Eli Rich 13 and Connor McDermott 10. Blumer added 21 rebounds and 10 assists.

Big numbers

Other standouts from Tuesday:

• Klay Fitzroy scored 32 points in a 69-62 win over Riverview.

St. Joseph’s Andrew Sullivan and Plum’s Connor Moss scored 31 and 30 in losses to Clairton and Kiski Area, respectively.

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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