By Terry Thomas
Coach Taylor was awarded his first State Tournament victory with the Clippers 61-47 win over Philadelphia's Martin L. King Jr. Cougars. Chester will meet Abington Heights in the 2nd Round on Tuesday, March 13th at a site and time to be determined.
The seniors did not want their careers as Clippers to end on the campus of South Philadelphia H.S. Facing a front-court of 6'9", 6'7" and 6'7", the undersized Clippers demonstrated patience and followed Coach Taylor's game plan to the letter. Brian Randolph III led the charge in the 1st quarter with 7 of his 14 points with Timothy Johnston and Kylair Blackston each contributing a bucket as the teams were tied at 11 after one quarter. In the 2nd quarter the underclassmen held down the fort for the Clippers with 6'5" freshman Kareel Watkins being the force in the paint with 8 points. Junior 6'4" wingman Rahmaad DeJarnette finger-rolled 4 points and the Clippers took a 23-19 lead into intermission. With the slow pace of the game neither team could establish a significant run. The team continued with the game plan to take the ball inside via both dribble penetration and feeding our bigs resulting in five players producing the team 14 third quarter points. Defensively the Clippers hounded the Cougars big men by boxing them out or stripping them of the ball when they brought it down on the rebound. Watkins again was the best big on the floor producing 6 more points as his teammates Michael Smith, Randolph, DeJarnette and Blackston each contributed 2 points. At the end of the third, Chester - 37, ML King - 32. The Clippers finally warmed up in the cold South Philly gym and after Watkins completed an old-fashioned 3-point play Chester's lead had grown to 50-35 with 4:20 left in the contest. Chester secured the victory by keeping the ball in the hands of their best free throw shooters down the stretch and they didn't disappoint producing 9 of their last 11 points. The team went 9 of 12 in the final 4 minutes of the contest. The Clippers spread the wealth in the 4th with six players in the scoring column producing 24 points. Watkins and Smith led with 6 points followed by Randolph (5), DeJarnette (3) and sophomore Rahmee Gilbert and Johnston with 2 apiece.
Three Clippers scored in double figures with Karell Watkins a game and career high of 20 points. He also recorded a double-double with 10 rebounds. Brian Randolph III also had a double double with 14 points and 12 rebounds. Rahmaad DeJarnette finished with 11 points. While Smith fell just short of double figures with 8 points, he did manage to tie a career high with 7 assists. The team ended with 12 assists on 19 made baskets.
Senior Timothy Johnston had a productive evening with 4 points, 3 blocks which tied his career high, 6 rebounds and 1 assist. Two of his blocks came on one Cougar possession when they recovered one of his blocks came back at him and he blocked their second attempt. Johnston ran the floor and was awarded with a feed from Smith for a lay-up that gave the Clippers the lead 47-35 at 5:06 in the 4th quarter.
Game Site Announcement
Game Site Announcement
The Chester Clippers (19-8) will take on the District 2 Champion Abington Heights (23-3) in the 2nd Round of the State 5A Tournament. The game will be played on Tuesday, March 13th at Liberty H. S., 1115 Linden Street, Bethlehem, PA 18018. Tip-off is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. This will be a rematch of last season's Quarter-finals game won by Abington Heights 65-60 in double overtime that was also played at Liberty H.S.