No. 1 Fox Chapel pulls away to dump Penn-Trafford

Friday, January 31, 2020 | 10:19 PM

There is a reason Fox Chapel is ranked No. 1 in Class 6A.

The unbeaten Foxes didn’t flinch when Penn-Trafford made a run at them late in the third quarter Friday night.

Fox Chapel showed its mettle and slowly reclaimed the momentum in a Section 3-6A battle and pulled away for a 71-57 victory.

Penn-Trafford surprised Fox Chapel with a pressure defense in the first quarter and it took the Foxes a few possessions to see what was happening.

Once they did, their offense started to roll.

A 3-pointer by Arnold Vento gave the Foxes a 7-6 lead and sent them on an 8-0 run as Lorenzo Jenkins hit a layup and Vento another 3-pointer for a 12-6 lead.

A little later in the quarter, the Foxes turned a couple of turnovers into points and an 18-11 lead

The Foxes (19-0, 9-0) were led by the 6-foot-3 Vento, who scored 27 points, 13 in the first half. Eli Yofan added 15.

“They came out with something we hadn’t seen and we had to adjust to it,” Vento said. “We were able to incorporate a half-court trap and force some turnovers and go on our own run and stop theirs.”

Fox Chapel led 20-16 after one quarter and increased its lead to 35-24 by halftime. Vento, Yofan and J.P. Dockey hit 3-pointers in the second quarter.

Penn-Trafford (11-8, 4-5), which slipped to second place in the section when Hempfield (5-4) defeated Connellsville (3-6), put together a run that cut the Fox Chapel lead to 41-37 behind the play of Zach Rocco and Josh Kapcin.

But Fox Chapel used a 22-5 run to reclaim the momentum and coast to the victory.

“I thought our guys did a good job when Penn-Trafford tried to push the pace,” Fox Chapel coach Zach Skrinjar said. “We were still patient and we took advantage of some opportunities to get easy layups. That was a positive, getting some easy buckets.

“When they made the run, our guys seem to have something in them that when we talked to them, they were able to step up their effort. We did press, which we really haven’t done, and we took advantage of some matchups. We just continued to defend.”

Vento said when Fox Chapel plays defense, it picks up its offense.

Rocco led Penn-Trafford with 27 points. He was honored before the game for reaching 1,000 career points Jan. 25. Kapcin added 11.

Penn-Trafford has dropped three consecutive section games and concludes section play Tuesday at Norwin (3-6), which fell to Latrobe (3-6) on Friday night. That game will determine what teams qualify for the playoffs.

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at or via Twitter .

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