By Terry Thomas
Chester (3-1) fought back from double digits deficits in both halves only to fall to the Reading (4-1) Red Knights 74-70 at Reading's Geigle Complex. Going scoreless in their first thirteen possessions had the Clippers looking up to a 0-13 score before junior Karell Watkins put up 2 at the 2:05 mark. Baskets from Fareed Burton Jr and Rahmee Gilbert coupled with an old-fashioned 3-point play by Zahmir Carroll and Chester was with 7 at the end of the 1st quarter. Chester - 9, Reading - 16.
With Watkins sitting the entire 2nd quarter in foul trouble, Zahmir Carroll battled hard against the Reading forwards. Their three forwards accounted for 13 of their 14 second quarter points. Meanwhile, senior Faheem Berry came off the bench and sparked the Clippers with 7 of his 8 points. Burton and Carroll each contributed 4 and senior Jahmaige Womack scored 2 of his 4 and the deficit was now four points at the half. Chester - 26, Reading - 30.
While the Clippers continued with their offensive output in the third quarter, their defense was lacking as they allowed the Red Knights to put up 23 points. The Clippers were once again looking up at a double-digit deficit. Chester spread the wealth using five players to produce their 17 third quarter points. Watkins, Gilbert and Akeem Taylor each added four while Carroll and Womack dropped in 3 and 2 respectively. At the end of the quarter it was Chester - 43, Reading - 53.
In the fourth quarter Chester continued to trail by as many as 12 points until Taylor converted a three-point play at 4:21 making the score Chester - 58, Reading - 67. That basket ignited a Clippers 11-2 run that was capped by another Taylor bucket at the 2:40 mark. Chester - 66, Reading - 69. Unfortunately for the Clippers, Taylor would be called for his fifth foul four seconds later making him a cheerleader the rest of the game. He finished the night with 14 points. Reading would push the lead up to 6 before a basket by junior Fareed Burton Jr cut to four, 68-72, with 1:30 showing. Burton would rebound the missed Reading shot and feed Carroll for a bucket and the Clippers now trailed 70-72 with 1:10 remaining.
The Clippers would force a turnover and Reading would call for a timeout with 27.7 remaining. Out of the timeout and still trailing 70-72, Watkins received a pass on the baseline, spun towards the basket but would have his shot blocked causing a jump ball with 21.3 seconds remaining. The possession arrow was in favor of the Red Knights. Clippers junior Lenny Camacho pressured the ball and came up with a steal but his shot attempt fell short at the 8 seconds mark and the Red Knights hauled in the rebound. They were able to knock down two free throws to secure the win.
The Clippers will continue on to the second leg of the road trip with they travel to South Philadelphia on Friday, December 20th to take on the Southern Rams. The JV will tip-off at 5:30 with the Varsity to follow.
Chester's JV is now 2-1 on the season after dropping losing 54-40 to the Reading Red Knights. Lenny Camacho came through with a game and season high of 16 points but it was not enough to overcome the 16 point first half hole the team found itself in. The team continued to fight but several unforced errors halted their comeback attempt. Nasir Madison (9), Yinka Itabiyi (6), William Smith (5) along with two points each from Donziar Ellis and Naeem Scott completed their scoring.