Kelly sparks Fox Chapel win vs. Norwin

Saturday, January 6, 2018 | 12:01 AM

Ben Kelly's return to the lineup has made quite a difference for Fox Chapel.

Out with an illness two weeks ago when the Foxes dropped a pair of section games, Kelly scored 18 points, all in the first half Friday, as Fox Chapel defeated Norwin, 54-38, in a Section 3-6A game.

Kelly's strong shooting spurred a 20-4 run during the first half as Fox Chapel (8-3, 2-2) took control and won its fourth game in five outings since the 6-foot-2 junior guard returned.

“Ben is a weapon for us,” Foxes coach Zach Skrinjar said. “He's as good a shooter as there is in the WPIAL. Credit our guys for finding him and credit to him for making the shots.”

Actually, Carson Cohen led the homestanding Foxes in scoring with 19, including nine in the second quarter when Fox Chapel outscored the Knights, 24-10.

“They shot lights out in the first half,” Norwin coach Lynn Washowich said. “That was the difference in the ballgame. Getting down by 15 at halftime to a team like that is tough to come back from.”

Norwin (6-5, 1-3) took a 12-7 lead with 4 minutes, 4 seconds left in the first half. Four Norwin players — Gianni Rizzo, Pat Edwards, John Ratesic and Jake Williams — hit 3-pointers to start the game.

But Fox Chapel showed its shooting prowess, hitting six 3-pointers over the next nine minutes. Following a Norwin turnover, Cohen passed to Kelly for a 3-pointer that led to a 39-24 halftime lead.

“We kind of talked about the second half of section play, staring fast,” Skrinjar said. “I thought we did a good job executing some of our out-of-bounds sets. We got some real good looks. Unfortunately, we didn't knock a lot of shots down in the second half.”

Cohen scored all seven of Fox Chapel's points in the third quarter. A basket by John Ratesic with 44 seconds left in the third cut the Norwin deficit to 44-34, but the Knights couldn't get closer.

“They didn't shoot well in the second half, and they didn't need to,” Washowich said. “What really impressed me was their tenacity to defend, unlike some of the teams we've played against this year. Fox Chapel lets you pass the ball around the perimeter, but they don't let you penetrate and get to the paint.”

Dom McGriff led the Foxes with seven rebounds and Micah Morris had three steals.

Ratesic had 12 for Norwin, and Rizzo and Jayden Walker had seven rebounds each.

George Guido is a freelance writer.

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