PITTSBURGH — On Saturday night, Eli Yofan and Fox Chapel made history, winning the school’s first WPIAL championship since 1977 to cap off a weekend full of championship matchups at the Petersen Events Center.
Yofan struggled mightily early on, missing his first ten field goals and scoring just two points in the first 26 minutes.
However, he was not going to stay quiet the entire game. He is Fox Chapel’s all-time leading scorer. He had a chance to get revenge on 24-0 North Hills, the lone team to beat his Foxes all year. He was playing for the school’s first WPIAL title since 1977.
This was, so far, the biggest game of his life.
“Oh, one,” Yofan said when asked where this game ranks in his lifetime achievements. “It’s not even close, not even close. The WPIAL championship is huge. It’s everything, it’s all I have ever wanted in high school basketball. The points, that just came with it. It’s definitely number one.”
With 5:55 left in the game, Yofan drained a massive three, his first made field goal of the game. That big-time bucket gave the Foxes a 31-28 lead, one which they would never surrender.
Yofan also drained two more free throws later in the period, extending the Foxes’ lead to a game-high four in crunch time. He took a charge with two minutes left and followed that with a blocked shot on the next possession down. Yofan woke up when it mattered and led Fox Chapel to the 6A title.
“It’s unbelievable,” Yofan added. Seriously, it’s something I have been working for since four years ago when I walked into the gym for summer workouts. Now that it happened, four years later, it’s like we manifested it. We said, ‘We’re going to do this,’ we put our minds to it, and that’s what happened. It was unbelievable. I am speechless.”
Guard JP Dockey scored a team-high ten points for the Foxes, hitting five of his eight field goal attempts in an efficient outing. Alongside Dockey and Yofan, Colin Kwiatkowski dropped eight, including the game-sealing breakaway slam that sent the Fox Chapel crowd into a frenzy.
North Hills was led by forward Devin Burgess, who scored 13 points on 4-for-8 shooting, as well as 4-for-4 free-throw shooting. Sophomore standout Royce Parham contributed eight points, eight rebounds, and three blocks in the effort.
With the win, Fox Chapel snapped North Hills’ undefeated streak and also improved its own record to 24-1 on the year. For the Foxes’ proud head coach Zach Skrinjar, it took a whole lot of pieces to complete the puzzle and finally take down North Hills, who had beaten his team by 30 earlier this season.
“The two guys next to me, the other 17 down in the locker room, five coaches, an athletic director, a trainer, and all of our support,” Skrinjar said when asked what it took to finally take down the Indians. “Teams have bad games. We had some injuries; we had some illness. We knew that that wasn’t the kind of basketball we play. If anything, it was kind of a wake-up call for us, and it is very possible that that outcome then, the outcome against them in the summer league, losing that, the outcome again losing to them in a fall league, led to the success that we had today.”