Alle-Kiski Valley boys basketball notebook: Fox Chapel, Highlands and Springdale build perfect records

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Thursday, December 12, 2019 | 7:31 PM


Building an undefeated record early in the season is the best a team can do, and three Alle-Kiski Valley squads entered Thursday unbeaten.

Fox Chapel (3-0), Highlands (3-0) and Springdale (4-0) each stayed perfect in its own way.

Led by a core of players like Dimitri Fitch, Logan Dexter and Ben Myford, the Dynamos started with wins over Greensburg Central Catholic, Quigley Catholic, Riverside and Jefferson-Morgan.

They are averaging the fourth-most points (64.3) in WPIAL Class 2A, and they have only allowed 44.5 points per game.

“I think our defense has really been carrying us,” Springdale coach Aaron Epps said. “We have been very consistent, creating a lot of turnovers, which is leading to easy transition points. Offensively, we are playing as one, sharing the ball. No one is being selfish, and everyone is getting involved.”

Highlands has been led by seniors Luke Cochran (21.7 ppg.), Korry Myers (20.3 ppg.) and Johnny Crise (14.0 ppg.). The Golden Rams beat Gateway, Armstrong and defending WPIAL Class 1A champ Nazareth Prep.

“Our senior leadership has been good,” Highlands coach Tyler Stoczynski said. “Its allowed our young guys to play freely, and those things are important.”

Thanks to the crucial play from their seniors, the Golden Rams are flowing offensively and score a Class 4A-best 73.7 points per game. Last year, they finished the season at 65.9 points per game.

“It’s just been the unselfish nature of our team,” Stoczynski said. “We’re making the extra pass, everyone is excited for one another and everyone is understanding their roles. Everything is clicking, but we expect it because that’s the type of culture we’ve established in our program.”

A year after making a run to the PIAA tournament, Fox Chapel is starting to turn heads in Class 5A.

Led by Arnold Vento and Eli Yofan, the Foxes — who lost only two seniors from last season’s team — have scored at least 50 points every game and defeated both Hampton and Bethel Park at the North Hills tournament. On Tuesday, they beat Woodland Hills by 10 points and played Penn Hills (2-0) on Thursday.

The Race to 1,000

Crise and Cochran have led Highlands for the last few seasons, and as their senior season takes off, both approach the 1,000-point mark.

As of Wednesday night, Cochran has 868 career points after scoring 18, 25 and 22 in their first three games. Crise stands at 816 after totals of 16, 13 and 13.

Offensive Firepower

Riverview lost to Geibel Catholic by two points in the championship of Geibel’s Tip-Off tournament, but the Raiders have the third-highest-scoring offense in WPIAL Class 2A.

After totals of 62, 61, 84 and 62 in their first four games, the Raiders are averaging 67.3 points per game. Thanny and Nate Black, along with Gideon Deasy, have played well.

Thanny Black scored 29 points in an 84-69 win over Aquinas Academy and added 17 more in their third win of the season.

Section play begins

Last season, Knoch, Highlands, Deer Lakes and St. Joseph captured at least a share of their sectional titles. Kiski Area is the only A-K Valley team that started section play Thursday, and the rest of the A-K Valley teams kick off section play Friday.

The list of games are as follows:

Class 5A Section 1

Plum (0-3) at Armstrong (0-3)

Class 3A Section 3

Shady Side Academy (1-1) at Burrell (0-3)

South Allegheny (4-0) at Deer Lakes (2-1)

Valley (0-3) at Steel Valley (2-2)

Class 2A Section 1

Apollo Ridge (2-1) at Sto-Rox (1-2)

Springdale (4-0) at Northgate (1-2)

Summit Academy (2-2) at Riverview (3-1)

Class 1A Section 3

Greensburg Central Catholic (2-1) at St. Joseph (1-3)

Leechburg (3-1) at Propel Andrew Street (0-3)

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

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