Sunday, December 22, 2013

Chester Wins in Inaugural Fred Pickett Classic

A Dave Burman picture

Terry Thomas

Chester High has honored its All-Time Winningest Coach with the creation of the Fred Picket Classic.  Coach Pickett retired after guiding the Clippers to their sixth State Championship in 2008.  In 13 seasons as the head man, he finished with a record of 331-80, he appeared in five State Championship games with three Championships and two Runner-ups, eight District Championships and 11 League Championships. In 2008, he also guided Chester to a District-1 record of 7 consecutive District Championships and an incredible 36 game win streak; both breaking records that stood since 1944-1945. And if today's contest is any indication of things to come, you may not want to miss next year's event. After trailing since mid-way in the second quarter, Mahir Johnson hit a gliding 15 foot jumper as the horn sounded to give the Clippers a 62-61 come from behind victory over Philadelphia's Math-Civic-Science Charter Mighty Elephants. 

Mahir, Chester's 6'1" shoot guard, made his presence felt in first game at the Clip Joint scoring 9 of the Clippers 16 first quarter points giving the crowd reason to cheer as Chester held a16-12 advantage to end the quarter. Fifty-seven second into the second quarter, the whistle sounded and the referee signaled for a foul on Chester's #21. He was his second meaning he would spend the remainder of the quarter sitting next to Coach Yarbray. And for just the third time this season Chester would scored less than double digits in a quarter with 9 points and find themselves trailing 29-25 at the half. The Clippers found their stride offensively in the third, led by seniors Conrad Chambers and Tyrell Sturdivant who scored 9 points apiece, for a total of 20 points but defensive miscues allowed the Mighty Elephants to drop in 23 points on 10 made field goals including three treys. Chester found themselves down by as many as ten points on a couple occasions in the third but with every Clipper surge MCS would respond with a key basket. Chester found themselves looking up at a seven point deficient going into the final quarter. Chester - 45, Math-Civic-Science Charter - 52. The Clipper pressure holding their opponent to only three field goals and their woeful free throw shooting (2 of 13) by the Mighty Elephants in the 4th quarter allowed this to become a thriller. Junior Keyonte Watkins would start the fourth quarter with a bucket followed by Johnson and Sturdivant and the Clippers would only trail by 1, 52-51. MCS responded  with consecutive baskets to push their lead up to five. With every Clipper surge the Mighty Elephants would take the wind out of their sails with a key point here or there. After one of the rare made MCS free throws, Chester stared at a three point hole with less than 28 seconds on the clock. Sophomore Marquis Collins hit a 15 foot jumper off a long rebound to cut the margin to 60-61 . With 5 seconds on the clock, Sturdivant rebounded the missed MCS free throw and hit Johnson on the left wing. Johnson proceeded to dribble to the middle of the floor looking for an opportunity to score. With defenders surrounding him and the clock clicking down, Mahir rose about fifteen feet from the basket now on the right side of the foul line area and let it go. The horn sounded and the nets swished. The crowd rushes the floor and the Clippers are now 5-0.

Chester managed to put three players in double digits, Sturdivant with a co-game high of 21, oh yes he had another double-double (10 rebounds), Johnson's 15 and Chambers (11). Marquis Collins and Keyonte Watkins each finished with four points and Khaleeq Campbell dropped in a try and Maurice Henry completed the scoring with a nice spin move bucket in the second quarter.

Chester will return to action after the holidays on Saturday, December 28th in the Pete Nelson Classic on the campus of Widener University when they take on the Atlantic City Vikings in an 8:00 p.m. tip-off.

Merry Christmas!

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