By Terry Thomas
Clippers (20-6) put on a defensive clinic against the Parkland Trojans in route to their 55-41 victory. The win at Bethlehem Freedom H.S. puts Chester in a 2nd round matchup against the District 3 Champion Harrisburg Cougars. The game will be played on Wednesday, March 13th at a site and time to be determined.
Chester started strong in the first quarter limiting the Trojans to 6 points while four different Clippers contributed to their 15 point total. Senior Rahmaad DeJarnette set the tone with 3 steals off Trojans first four possessions and dropped in four points. Michael Smith and Akeem Taylor were recipients of the stolen merchandise in scoring 5 and 4 points respectively. Junior Zahmir Carroll's put back finalized the first quarter production.
The game pace slowed in the 2nd quarter and with only 11 possession, the Clippers unforced errors (Traveling violations) helped limit their point production to a mere 6 points. Parkland meanwhile was an outstanding 7 of 8 from the free throw line which aided in their closing the deficit before intermission. When the buzzer sounded Chester lead was not three points at 21-18.
The third quarter was classic Clippers basketball. Press - Score - Press - Score. Chester scored on 11 of their 14 possessions. Back-to-back and-1's from senior Javan Graham stretched the Clippers lead to 12 points and it was all over from there. Steals by DeJarnette and Taylor led to easy transition buckets and Carroll strength on the boards allowed for buckets in the paint. Adding in two three-pointers from Smith and the Trojans attempt to sit back in a zone was proven to be fruitless. The end result was a 25-5 quarter for the Clippers and a 46-23 lead into the final 8 minutes.
The Clippers decided to milk the clock during the final 8 minutes and thereby limit the number of possessions for the Trojans and secure the win.
Michael Smith led the Clippers with 17 points followed by Akeem Tayor's 16 points which establishes a new Clipper high for him. Taylor displayed a complete game combining 4 steals, 6 rebounds and 3 blocked shots to his stat sheet. Rahmaad DeJarnette chimed in with 8 points, 4 steals, 5 rebounds and 2 blocked shots. Zahmir Carroll (7), Javan Graham (5) and Fareed Burton Jr's two free throws completed the team's scoring.
The team stepped up big time with their double-double machine, sophomore Karell Watkins, unavailable due to a violation of team rules.
The Chester Clippers (20-6) continue their quest for a State Championship with a second round contest against the District-3 Champion Harrisburg Cougars (20-6). The game will be played on Wednesday evening, March 13th, at the Geigle Complex, Reading High School, 801 N. 13th St, Reading, PA 19604. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. following the William Allen (District 11 Champion) vs LaSalle (District 12 - 4th Seed) game that tips off at 6:00 p.m.