Junior Jake DeMotte arrives for Fox Chapel, plays key role in playoff victory

Saturday, March 6, 2021 | 10:01 AM

Throughout this season, the Fox Chapel boys basketball team has gotten contributions from several players.

Junior Eli Yofan has been the go-to-guy, averaging 22 points a game, but JP Dockey, Kent Baldauf, Jake DeMotte and Russell Fenton have all come up big at times as well.

“That’s the unique thing about this team, and the benefit that we have is that any night, anyone can have a big night,” Fox Chapel coach Zach Skrinjar said. “You’ve seen it all throughout the year that everyone has stepped up at different moments.”

In Fox Chapel’s WPIAL Class 6A first-round playoff victory over Bethel Park, DeMotte was the most recent Fox to come up big. The 5-foot-10 junior guard scored a career-high 28 points in a 63-44 win, further solidifying his role for the second-seeded Foxes.

“He found his moment and he started feeling it,” Skrinjar said. “He was taking advantage of the opportunities that the defense was giving him. He was hitting from outside, inside, and I think he had nine straight at one point from a variety of different angles. It was just a credit to our guys for getting him the ball and to him for not settling because he worked to get into better scoring ranges.”

Coming into this season, Fox Chapel had to replace three senior starters from last season, and DeMotte put in the time over the offseason to slot into that role.

Now, after playing limited minutes last season, DeMotte has turned into one of the main producers for the Foxes. He was never nervous about how it might play out.

“I’ve been playing with these guys for a long time and the chemistry has always been there,” DeMotte said. “I’ve just been learning to play defense better for longer periods of time this season.”

Offensively, DeMotte has been big throughout this season and has recorded a new career high on three occasions. He scored 13 in Fox Chapel’s big win over No. 1 Upper St. Clair on Jan. 22, then, one game later, he scored 17 against McKeesport in a 70-63 victory.

DeMotte also scored 19 in Fox Chapel’s regular-season finale, a win over Bishop Canevin on Feb. 26. DeMotte has attributed a lot of his success to the teammates around him.

“It’s nice to have a lot of playmakers around me because they can create shots for me,” DeMotte said. “So it’s nice to have guys like Eli and JP because they are unselfish with the ball.”

When DeMotte was able to get minutes last season, Skrinjar said that he could tell that he would be one of the guys who would step up this season, and so far, he has, which has been no surprise.

“He has a lot of confidence, which I love in a player,” Skrinjar said. “He’s not afraid of the moment, he’s not afraid to take a shot, and he wants the ball. That’s a great quality to have as a basketball player.”

DeMotte had to put in the work to solidify his role this season, and he hasn’t done it with just his ability to score.

Earlier this year, when the Foxes dropped back-to-back games for their only two losses, they lacked the right amount of intensity on the defensive end. DeMotte has given Fox Chapel a spark on the defensive end, which Skrinjar believes has led to his offensive production.

“He’s really worked his way in this year, and he’s given us a huge spark offensively but also defensively,” Skrinjar said. “He really accepted the challenges that we gave him on the defensive end, and I think that really helped him on offense.”

This may just be the beginning for the Foxes as well, as they only have two seniors on the roster and DeMotte will be returning with a core group of juniors that includes Yofan, Dockey and Fenton.

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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