By Terry Thomas
Chester (19-5) returned to winning form with a convincing 73-59 victory over the visiting Methacton Warriors. The win advances the 6th seeded Clippers to the District-1 Tournament's 5th Place game on Thursday, February 28th on the road at 5th seeded Norristown Eagles.
The Clippers forced an uptempo pace in the first half. Senior Javan Graham returned to the starting line (in the spot vacated by sophomore Karell Watkins) scoring 5 of his 7 points in the opening quarter to match fellow senior Michael Smith's five points. Chester trailed 13-15 at the end of the quarter. The team continued the pace in the second quarter and while the Warriors were knocking down shots from distance; they made four treys out of their five field goals. The Clippers used 8 field goals, four from junior Akeem Taylor Jr, three from junior Rahmee Gilbert and one from senior Rahmaad DeJarnette to even the quarter at 17 points apiece. Gilbert had an old fashioned three-point play in the process. The Clippers trailed 30-32 at the break.
Chester put their defensive pressure on display in the third quarter forcing numerous turnovers and thlimiting the Warriors to just 6 points while lighting up the scoreboard with 21. Michael Smith led the way with 9 points followed by six more from Taylor and baskets from Gilbert, DeJarnette and Graham. The Clippers enjoyed a 51-38 advantage going into the final 8 minutes. The pace of the game wore down the Warriors.
The Clippers continued to run the Warriors while playing clock control. The Warriors were forced to foul and the Clippers made them pay by going a perfect 12 for 12 from line in the fourth quarter. After sophomore Shaquan Horsey connected on an old fashioned three point play Chester held their biggest lead of the night 71-52. The team made an outstanding 17 of 18 free throws for the game.
Smith went 11/11 enabling him to produce a game high 22 points in his last game at the Clip Joint as a Clipper. Akeem Taylor went 1/1 to help his season high of 19 points; 17 coming in the final three quarters. Taylor also matched his season high of 4 blocked shots. Rahmee Gilbert connected on 3 of 3 as his matched his season high of 13 points. Rahmaad DeJarnette just missed double figures with 9 points. The team finished with a season low four turnovers in the contest; all coming in the second half.