Via Dave Burman: Class AAAA First Round
Chester (1-1, 24-3) vs Cumberland Valley (3-7, 15-11)Site: Norristown Area High School
Time: Saturday, 3 p.m.
Coaches: Chester - Larry Yarbray (5th season). Cumberland Valley - Mike Hibbs (4th season).
PIAA titles won: Chester - 8 (1983, 1989, 1994, 2000, 2005, 2008, 2011, 2012); Cumberland Valley - None.
How they got here: Chester beat Lower Merion, 60-46, to win its third straight District 1 championship. Cumberland Valley beat Chambersburg, 54-50, to claim the seventh and final seed out of District 3.
What’s next: The winner advances to Wednesday’s second round, where it will meet the winner of Williamsport and Bethlehem Liberty.
Key players: Chester - Rondae Jefferson (Sr., 6-7, G/F, 15.3 ppg); Conrad Chambers (Jr., 6-0, G, 7.1 ppg); Rashan DeJarnette (Sr., 5-10, PG, 8.2 ppg); Darius Robinson (Sr., 6-1, G, 12.5 ppg); Richard Granberry (Sr., 6-7, C, 12.2 ppg); James Kirsey (Sr., 6-4, F, 7 ppg). Cumberland Valley - Matt Tamanosky (Jr., 6-5, F, 12.9 ppg); Tanner Kirkpatrick (Sr., 6-6, F, 12.6 ppg); Gray Kline (Jr., 6-2, G, 12 ppg); Trevor Magnuski (Sr., 6-3, G, 6.3 ppg); Will Bachinsky (Sr., 6-1, G, 6.1 ppg).
Breakdown: The Eagles certainly drew the short straw after battling for their postseason lives in the District 3 tournament. CV first fell to eventual champ Harrisburg in the quarterfinals, then lost to rival Carlisle in the usual close fashion in a consolation game and finally pulled out a do-or-die game against another division foe, Chambersburg, just to get to this point. They’re reward for all of that hard work? A Clippers team, ranked No. 1 in the state and No. 15 in the nation by MaxPreps.com, which has won 74 consecutive games against state competition and has its eyes set on a third-straight PIAA Class AAAA championship. While the Eagles got a glimpse of what a top-tier team looks like after squaring off against Harrisburg three times, it’s doubtful anyone on this CV team has seen the kind of talent that will be on the other side of the floor come Saturday. Rondae Jefferson is a Division-I bound (Arizona) playmaker who can cause nightmares for even the most seasoned defender and he’s surrounded by an athletic bunch. Rashan DeJarnette is another player garnering D-I interest, and center Richard Granberry will be a handful in the post, provided the Clippers feed him the ball. All told, the deck is stacked very high against the Eagles, but there’s something to be said for that underdog mentality. Kirkpatrick can be a versatile scorer, Kline is an energy guy that has a nose for the basket and Tamanosky has shown he’s crafty around the hoop. The onus will be on Magnuski and Bachinsky to handle the immense pressure they’re sure to face and keep the Clippers from getting out in transition. If CV can limit the turnovers and slow the game down, they can make it closer than some might expect, but even that is a mighty Herculean task.