The Chester Clippers (22-5) are once again District-1 Champions with a thrilling come from behind 52-49 victory over the Pennsbury Falcons (21-5) at Villanova University. Tonight's game gives the Clippers their 4th consecutive title and their 11th over the past 15 years dating back to 2000.
In the 2nd quarter, the Clippers were paced by senior Conrad Chambers, Mahir Johnson and Brewster Ward who each contributed 4 points. Senior Tyrell Sturdivant and sophomore Khaleeg Campbell each added 3 points as Chester drew closer at the half. Chester - 23, Pennsbury - 31.
In the third quarter, Tyrell Sturdivant made his presence felt dropping in 8 of his team high and co-game high 17 points and treys from Khaleeq Campbell and Chambers helped the Clippers to draw even closer (6 point deficit) at the end of the third. The Falcons meanwhile continued to get clean looks and found the bottom of the basket. Chester - 39, Pennsbury - 45.
In the final period, Chester came alive defensively denying their opponent any clean looks at the basket. When Brewster Ward connected on two free throws the game was tied at 47 with 3:16 left to play. After a each team failed to score, junior Keyonte Watkins pulled up deep from the left side and after the ball cleared the nets the Clippers had their first lead of the night 50-47 with 2:10 on the clock. Chester failed to score on their next two possession which opened the door for the Falcons. After holding Pennsbury to just two points in the quarter, the Falcons scored with 25.6 seconds left in the contest to cut the Clippers lead to one. Chester - 50, Pennsbury - 49.
After being fouled, Sturdivant went to the line for a 1 and 1 opportunity but was called for a lane violation. Keyonte Watkins stole the Falcons inbound pass under Chester's basket with 23.2 seconds on the clock and was fouled on his shot attempt. He connected on 1 of 2 shots to push the lead to two points - 51-49. Chester forced another Pennsbury turnover and called their final timeout with 11.2 seconds on the clock. Johnson was fouled and with Pennsbury now in the double bonus was awarded two free throws and converted 1 of 2 shots for a 52-49 Chester lead with 5.3 seconds remaining. Pennsbury inbounded the ball and their final shot fell short. The Clippers team and fans began to celebrate after an outstanding never say die effort from the team.
Congratulations to Coach Yarbray, the players and his staff.
Tyrell Sturdivant finished the contest with a career high 22 rebounds to go along with his 17 points for yet another double-double. Johnson joined him in double figures with 10 points while Chambers fell short of double figures with 9 points including 6 of 6 from the free throw line. Ward and Khaleeq each finished with 6 points and Watkins completed the scoring with 4 big 4th quarter points.
Chester will being the final phase of their season which is the State Tournament on Saturday, March 8th against Carlisle at a site and time to be determined.