By Terry Thomas
Chester (18-4) advances to the District-1 Quarter-Finals and qualifies for the State Tournament with a come from behind 77-73 victory over the visiting Plymouth Whitemarsh Colonials. The win keeps the Clippers 2019 win streak alive at 14 games.
Senior Rahmaad DeJarnette was on target scoring the first 6 points for the Clippers. Unfortunately after picking up his 2nd foul he became a spectator the rest of the first half. He also saw a quick exit in the second half collecting his 4th personal at the 2:59 mark of the 3rd quarter. He did manage an important block on a Colonials three point attempt with his team trailing 46-48 at 3:03 but was called for an offensive foul on his drive to the basket.
Senior Michael Smith stepped up scoring 7 first quarter points with buckets from junior Zahmir Carroll tying the score at 10 and sophomore Karell Watkins knotting the score at 17 to end the first quarter.
The Colonials began knocking down shots from long distance in the 2nd quarter with four treys out of their 8 made baskets. They also went 3 of 3 from the charity stripe to earn a 40-34 advantage at the half. The Clippers were led by Watkins putting in work in the paint with 8 second quarter points. Chester's seldom used 6'6" sophomore Shaquan Horsey came off the bench to give Watkins a blow and made the most of his 1:37 seconds of playing time with a timely blocked shot. Senior Christian Massena came off the bench hitting two free throws to pull the Chester with four, 30-34, at the 2:11 mark. Juniors Rahmee Gilbert and Carroll each scored a deuce but that didn't offset the two treys from the Colonials giving them the half time lead.
The Clippers did a better job protecting the three point line in the 3rd quarter not allowing the Colonials to score from long distance and the teams played even scoring 18 points apiece. Chester trailed 52-58 going into the final 8 minutes of the contest. Watkins led the way with 7 points followed by Smith (4), junior Akeem Taylor Jr (3) and Carroll and senior Javan Graham with 2 apiece.
The Clippers maintained their stance at the three point line in the fourth quarter and their scrappy play enabled them to tie the game at 64 with 4:31 on the clock. Michael Smith knotted the game with two free throws coming off a technical foul on the Colonials 7'4" big man. The Clippers took with lead for good, 66-64, after Watkins stole the Colonials inbound pass, his third consecutive, and scored at 4:30. The Clippers starting five produced all 25 fourth quarter points and Gilbert knocked down 1 of 2 free throws with 8.7 seconds remaining to give the Clippers the 4 point cushion. The Colonials did hit a three point shot with 18.7 seconds remaining to pull with 3, 76-73.
In the final quarter Watkins produced 7 of his team high 24 points, Taylor added 6 of his 9 and Gilbert contributed 5 of his 7. Smith added 4 of his 18 to join Watkins in double figures and Carroll put up 3 of his 9.
Smith finished the contest with another five assists. Taylor and Carroll each collected 7 rebounds while Watkins string of consecutive double doubles was halted at 12 as he was restricted to 5 rebounds. He did manage however to collect those three steals and dish out an assist.
Chester will travel to Lower Merion to take on the Aces on Friday, 2/22/2019, with a trip to the Semi-Finals and Temple University on the line.