By Terry Thomas
The Clippers (1-5) ended 2017 with another loss 57-48 at the hands of the Penncrest Lions (8-0) closing the 13th Annual Pete/Jameer Nelson Classic on the campus of Widener University. With junior swingman Rahmaad DeJarnette out for 6 weeks with a fracture ankle, Coach Taylor inserted sophomore Rahmee Gilbert into the starting lineup to defend the county's leading scorer Tyler Norwood who entered the contest averaging 27.8 ppg. Gilbert was able to hold Norwood to just one point in the opening quarter and with senior Isaiah Schmidt coming off the bench with 4 first quarter points, the Clippers trailed 10-13 after the first period. With the Clippers going a frigid 1 of 7 from the free throw line in the 2nd quarter the Lions were able to pull away to a ten point advantage at the half. Chester - 18, Penncrest - 28. The Clippers picked up the defensive intensity in the 3rd quarter holding Norwood to just 2 points and junior Michael Smith began to find his range knocking down 10 of his team high 17 points. This resulted in Chester closing the gap to 31-28 at the end of the quarters. The Clippers found their mark from distance in the final quarter connecting on 5 treys led by Schmidt with 3 and Smith and Gilbert each knocking down one. Chester's aggressive defense limited Penncrest to just four field goal but the Lions began a parade to the free throw line where they hit on 11 of 17 shots that allowed them to hold off Chester's comeback.
Schmidt finished the contest with a career high 13 points on 4 treys (also a career high) and 1 of 2 from the line. As a team, Chester dished 10 assist on 16 made field goals led by Michael Smith with four.
Chester will start 2018 returning to the Clip Joint on January 2nd to take on Bayard Rustin. JV will tip-off at 6:00 with the Varsity to follow.
This will be the start of a three game home stand with Newark (DE) coming in on Thursday, January 4th and Christiana (DE) on Saturday, January 6th.