By Terry Thomas
The Clippers (20-3) advanced to the District-1 Quarterfinals by shutting down the Haverford Fords 64-44 at the Clip Joint. The Fords entered the contest having won 11 of their last 12 games while the Clippers were riding an 8-game winning streak. Chester displayed strong man-to-man defense for 32 minutes and did not allow a single Haverford scorer to reach double figures. The Fords had three players with 8 points as their team high. Akeem Taylor Jr's primary defensive responsibility was to shut down Haverford's leading scoring John Seidman who entered the contest with a 17.6 ppg average. He would score all 8 of his points in the first half.
On the other hand, with junior Fareed Burton Jr recovering from an injury, senior Faheem Berry made the most of his starter’s minutes draining four treys in the first half to open thing up for the Clippers. With Berry hitting from long range it opened the floor for the Clippers to dominate inside the paint. Berry finished the night with a career high of 16 points off a career high five 3-point field goals; one of which included a four-point play in the 4th quarter. Chester led 12-8 after the first quarter.
With Berry and Akeem Taylor Jr hitting threes, it opened the lane for drives by Zahmir Carroll, Taylor and junior Karell Watkins. Taylor scored 7 of his 11 points in the period. Carroll added a bucket and with 10 seconds remaining in the quarter Watkins dropped in his 10th point of the game and the 1,001st of his career. Karell becomes the 32nd male member of Chester's exclusive 1000 Point Club. With PIAA rules prohibiting stopping the contest, the announcement was made as the team's were exiting the floor for halftime intermission. Chester now led 35-21.
In the Clippers locker room, the score was posted as 0-0 and Watkins started the 3rd quarter as if it was a continuation of the 2nd. He dropped in 8 more of his game high 20 points. As he had done during the regular season, he produced another double-double with 10 rebounds. Zahmir Carroll used his size and quickness to put in 5 of his 9 points and senior Rahmee Gilbert went 2 for 2 from the line. Gilbert finished the game with 4 points, 3 assist, 3 rebounds and 1 steal. The end results saw the Clippers lead grow to 15 points, 50-35 at the conclusion of the 3rd quarter.
During the fourth quarter JV call-ups - sophomores Nasir Madison and Jermere Clark - added their names to the scoring column with their first 2 Varsity points. Madison with a put-back off a missed shot and Clark with a left-handed finger roll.
In this his 3rd season at the helm for the Clippers, tonight's win earned Coach Taylor his 2nd 20-win season and his 3rd State Tournament appearance.
The Clippers will return to action on Friday, February 21st when then host the Lower Merion Aces. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.