Fox Chapel Winter League Basketball
Follow us on
Do you have to be a Fox Chapel Area School District resident to play Winter League?
No, anyone can play.

How long are the practices, and how often do they practice?
Adult leagues do not practice. Youth teams normally practice for (1 hour for 1st and 2nd grades), and up to (older teams 1.5 hours), once a week, on a weeknight. Boys and girls grades 9th to 12th hold an open gym scrimmage/ practice with an adult gym monitor usually weekly.

Where do teams practice?
At either an elementary, middle school, or High School gym in the district. We use every single gym, every single night, of the entire season in the district and even rent additional space to make this work.

What time are the practices?
Younger teams (1st to 4th) normally from 6:00-7:00 or 7:30, and older teams (5th to 8th) practice from 7:30-9:00. High school teams can practice as late as 10:00pm during the week. Travel practices are handled by the travel commissioner and occur on Sunday's during the season.

When are the games?
Adult League's play during the week ONLY. Each youth team plays a game on Saturday's between 8am and 8pm at gyms in the district. How many players are on a team?
Teams usually consist of 7 or maximum 8 players divided by grades and separated by gender. 1st & 2nd grade will roster 6 players for 3 on 3. 3rd & 4th girls will roster 6-7 for 4v4. This is all based on numbers of coaches, available gym space, and playing format. We try to keep it smaller to allow more playing time.

How are the age groups divided up?
Generally, we group grades in pairs, 3rd-4th, 5th-6th etc. We may split them into single ages, if numbers are high enough to have at least 6 teams at each level. Movement in age groups may occur if numbers are low, we apologize for this in advance.

Girls 1st-2nd, 3rd-4th, 5th-6th, 7th-12th.
Boys 1st-2nd, 3rd-4th, 5th-6th, 7th-8th, 9th-10th, 11th-12th Men's league - Out of High School (OHS), 40 and over (40OV) Must be 40 by the Final Date of March Madness.
Women's league - Out of High School (OHS) (May Supplement with High School players as needed)

Do you lower the hoops for the younger grades, like 1st-2nd?
Yes, we lower the hoops to 8' approximately and they play side to side at O'Hara. 3rd-4th graders move to 10' hoops and play full court, due to space, and hoop lowering limitations at our gyms. See rules section for more on our league playing time rules, etc.

This is a parents decision and they play at their own risk.

My child is playing travel. Can they also play Winter League / rec? Do the games conflict?
Many travel players play both travel and Winter League. Most travel games are during the week which may conflict with some practices, but not games. There a potential conflict playing in both as they may miss games.

How are teams made up?
Twins, Triplets etc. are always automatically put onto the same team, unless otherwise directed by the parent. All teams are decided by draft, with the exception of 1st-2nd grade. This decision was made to keep coaches from stacking their teams.

How does the draft work?
All players are rated during their 1st season of play. After the 1st year, a players rating stays with them hidden in our system from public viewing. Coaches receive rating information prior to the draft and this information is held in the strictest confidence. As players improve, commissioners and coaches dialogue to update those ratings each year. Each round of the draft, the coaches select available players in reverse order of strength. In other words, the weaker team drafts 1st, each round and the stronger teams last each and every round of the draft.

What is the rating scale for players?
We rate players 0-5, 0 being the best and 5 the weakest. We do use 1/2 points as well. The rating system, while not perfect is a sincere attempt to balance teams and is the best system currently out there without an onsite player evaluation.

What do the ratings numbers mean?
0- Rare player can score at will and does so virtually every game
1- Very good scorer scores high point almost weekly
2- Very good defender but doesn't score a whole lot. Does a lot well.
3 - Avg. Winter League player. Scores low points per game. Generally understands the plays, etc and is a good part of the team. Knows their role!!
4 - Below avg. May think their role is different than it really is.
5 - ..............fill in the blank

How do you rate a 1st year player?
This is our most difficult year for a player and where we see the most mistakes. It gets easier every year there after, except as players grow and develop over the summer they often come back much better than expected. We use any information we can find and are always working on solutions to improve the process.

Why can't little Susie play with my little Sally?
I requested her on the registration form, why ask if you are not going to fulfill it? We could choose to not ask for your friend request preferences, but thought it better to please some people, rather than intentionally not please anyone. We will make every attempt humanly possible to honor requests, but never at the expense of team or league balance. The" friend request" is one of the most utilized tools to destroy team parity in youth sports. We suggest telling your child, that you don't always get what you want in life, and that she will make new friends. This will teach her more than basketball ever could.

What size ball should we buy?
Girls 1st-2nd: 25.5
Girls 3rd-4th: 27.5
Girls 5th and up: 28.5
Boys 1st-2nd: 25.5
Boys 3rd-4th: 27.5
Boys 5th-6th: 28.5
Boys 7th to Men's: 29.5

We are neighbors, and need to carpool.
You may be able to carpool with this player to practice if it works out. We will attempt, if possible, to put these players in the same practice gym on the same night just not on the same team at the expense of league balance, if needed. This is a known stacking trick and we are fully aware of it.

Can head coaches pick their assistant's?
Yes, you can pick your own assistant, just not before the draft. You MUST DRAFT THEM, via their child! Of course we would never assign an assistant to you. This is your choice. However, you cannot pick your assistant prior to the draft. In other words, you must draft your desired assistant coaches child, if they are available, in order to have their parent become your assistant,when you have an opportunity to draft. This prevents stacking by coaches of very strong players joining up before the draft to effectively render the season and draft meaningless. This is another classic stacking technique!

But, my assistant's child is only average, he's not that good? Why can't I choose them before the draft?
This is a league rule, and we have to be consistent. If their child is truly not that strong a player, then you will have nothing to worry about, as you should have the chance to draft them in the appropriate round later.

Where and when do the adult leagues play?
They play at Shady Side Academy's HS Mellon Gym, and Middle School Gym's in Fox Chapel. They usually have pickup in November, with games beginning on the 1st Monday in December, see our calendar for the specific locations, dates and times of pickup.

Do You Provide Referees for the Games?
Yes, we provide a uniformed trained, and mentored referee for each game. They are paid by our league, which comes out of the league fees. The older the age group, the older the referees and higher the quality. Adult Leagues use 2 PIAA ref's. Our younger refs do the youngest games as a training ground, so please be patient with them. They are learning also.

Do we have buy a T-shirt to play or is one provided?
You do not need to buy an extra jersey. All players receive a Winter League T-shirt with a number as part of their paid registration and may keep it afterward.

Why don't we choose which size shirt we want to wear?
The teams are not assigned until the 1 week before the 1st game thus not leaving enough time to order shirts specific to player, team, etc. Also, we have developed a formula that while not perfect, works well to meet the general needs of the vast majority. We rarely have to replace a jersey with a different size. However, if yours doesn't fit let our uniform coordinator know this and they will work to rectify the situation for you.

When Does everything Start?
Usually the first week in December

When will we find out what team we are on?
Right around Thanksgiving. If not, please contact your AGC, and not the president please. Coaches are told they must communicate this to parents around then.

When do practices begin?
On your assigned practice day, beginning the 1st day of December.

When do games begin?
Adult league games begin the 1st week of December. Watch the calendar for pick up in November. Youth Leagues begin in December

How many games do teams play during the season?
The season consists of between 9 games, plus playoffs, plus 3v3 for most age groups. This is providing their are no weather cancellations. Some make up is possible utilizing week day games.

What dates does the season run?
Begins: Saturday December to early March
No games over Christmas, and New Years

7:00-10:00pm - Monday to Friday

Does everyone make the year end March Madness Playoff Tournament?
Yes, all teams make it! The season determines the seeding of the brackets.

When is the tournament for the youth leagues?
Begins: End of Feb, or 1st of March
Ends: All games in one week
GAMES: Played every night in every gym that week.
GYMS: Every gym in the district.

When is the tournament for the Adult Leagues?
Begins: 1st full week of March
Ends: Thursday 2nd week of March
GAMES: Played every night
GYMS: Shady Side Mellon gym

Can I request not to play a certain day during March Madness week?
No, we do not have the flexibility in the schedule to accommodate individual requests. My advice is, don't schedule anything for that time period When will the tournament schedule be posted?
It will be out the in early February. You may only guess what you will be seeded though and therefore may only project what days and times you will play.

Why are some March Madness games so late into the evening?
Because of the strain on the schedule, and the huge numbers of games needed especially in the early rounds, we are forced to play a little later this one week. We do try and avoid this is possible. If the games are too late for your child, please tell your coach that you will be skipping the playoffs, so they will know what to expect.