Fox Chapel girls basketball team shows resolve

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Saturday, January 16, 2021 | 9:01 AM


After suffering a pair of disappointing losses and some crucial injuries earlier this season, the Fox Chapel girls basketball team persevered for their first victory of the season Jan. 12 when they took down Section 2-5A foe Hampton, 58-49.

Fox Chapel’s first two games resulted in a seven-point loss to Oakland Catholic and a four-point loss to Mars in its first game back from the three-week pause Gov. Tom Wolf put into place in mid-December.

Two close losses didn’t stop the Foxes from continuing to improve.

“We’re putting it together. We’re just trying to be as resilient and adaptable as we can, and that’s one of the things that we always preach to the team,” Fox Chapel coach Marty Matvey said.

Fox Chapel’s win over Hampton was a perfect example of what Matvey has been trying to get his team to comprehend.

The Foxes came out slow and trailed by seven points at the end of the first quarter. Then, with sophomore guard Elsie Smith already out, freshman guard Sarah Slember was injured, and the Foxes had to find a way to battle.

They worked their way back into the game and traded leads with the Talbots before pulling away.

“The kids never quit, and that’s something we’ve instilled in them since we came into the program,” Matvey said. “Never give up, no matter what. I couldn’t be prouder of the ladies, and we’re just going to have to continue to take the punches and keep going.”

Fox Chapel’s win over Hampton also was a perfect example of the next-player-up mentality.

While the Talbots double-teamed seniors Domenica Delaney and Ellie Schwartzman, who still finished with 13 and 11 points respectively, senior Ally Hager stepped up to score a team-high 21 points in the victory.

Matvey said her performance was a result of stepping up and her teammates finding her in the right place at the right time.

“She does a really good job of knowing where to be when Ellie gets doubled, so those two play really well together,” Matvey said. “In our preparation meeting, we assumed Hampton was going to press because we had a decent size advantage and they were also a lot deeper. So, we just talked about being available for the extra pass and she was. She shot an incredibly high percentage and I think she only missed two shots.”

As a result, Schwartzman finished with a triple-double — 11 points, 21 rebounds, and 11 assists, which will be huge for the Foxes moving forward.

With a win under their belt, the Foxes are turning their focus on how to improve. Part of that process is getting back into shape after the long layoff.

“We only have 14 kids, and we have to make sure we are in shape to run,” Matvey said. “We’ve been doing a lot of running and fine-tuning our defensive strategy and our offensive execution. If we can control our conditioning and how we execute on both ends of the floor we can give ourselves a chance.”

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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