Author: delcohoops

Chester comes together to grieve and celebrate in wake of tragedy

Chester

The jerseys of Chester players Edward Harmon and teammate Jeremere Clark on the bench before the start of their P1AA state playoff game against Simon Gratz Wednesday evening at Cardinal O’Hara High School. Harmon was murdered and Clark injured in a shooting Tuesday. PETE BANNAN — MEDIANEWS GROUP

By Terry Toohey

Several Chester players paraded around the court at Cardinal O’Hara holding up Edward Harmon’s jersey amid a throng of fans after the Clippers’ astonishing 63-62 victory over Simon Gratz in the second round of the PIAA Class 6A playoffs Wednesday night.

Despite the thrilling way the game ended, on a long-distance three-point shot by Zahmir Carroll as time expired, this wasn’t a celebration as much as it was a part of the healing process from a tragedy that no one, especially a group of teenagers, should ever have to go through.

Just one day earlier, Harmon, a sophomore forward on the Chester basketball team, was killed, along with 15-year-old Tayvonne Avery, amid a multiple shooting that also left Jermere Clark, also a sophomore forward on the varsity basketball team, wounded.

“They were just out there playing basketball when someone started shooting,” said former Chester great Keith Wood, Harmon’s step-grandfather. “It just makes no sense.”

That’s a sad reality in Chester. Harmon and Avery were the 10th and 11th murder victims in the city.

“Unfortunately, where we live, this is not a new occasion,” Chester-Upland superintendent Dr. Juan Baughn said before the game. “And, unfortunately, we’ve had too much practice at this. … At a time like this, everybody’s in pain.”

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Carroll’s buzzer-beating triple caps emotional 24 hours for Chester

A packed house saw a tremendous game as Chester beats Simon Gratz in the final seconds. Photo by: Delcohoops/Mike Mayer

By Mitchell Gladstone

Several minutes after Wednesday’s game had ended, Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” blasted from the speakers inside Cardinal O’Hara’s gym.

And from somewhere within a mass that felt like the entire city of Chester, a black No. 35 jersey was lifted into the air. From a distance, it almost looked like it was floating.

Perhaps it was.

That jersey belonged to 15-year-old Clippers sophomore Edward Harman, who was shot and killed a little more than 24 hours before his teammates were set to take on Simon Gratz in a PIAA Class 6A second-round matchup. Jermere Clark, another sophomore on Chester’s team, was injured in the incident as well.

The Clippers had the option to postpone the game. They instead chose to play.

And if there were ever a time to think maybe — just maybe — there was a higher power looking down upon the hardwood, you’d certainly be entitled to believe that with the miracle that Harman’s teammates into the state quarterfinals.

Senior Zahmir Carroll swished home a running 25-foot triple as time expired, lifting Chester past Gratz 63-62 as the Clippers dug their way out of a 15-point second-half hole to emerge winners. 

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Girls Basketball: Shields puts a shine on Carroll’s 5A victory

By Bob Grotz

Archbishop Carroll’s 55-34 win over West Scranton to reach the quarterfinal round of the PIAA Class 4A girls basketball state tournament had a little bit of everything, including a coronavirus moment.

In the second quarter of the Wednesday affair at Liberty High School, Patriots coach Renie Shields flashed back to a memo she had read earlier in the day from the New York Association of Schools.

“It was a list of things you should be doing,” Shields said of coronavirus prevention measures. “And it talked about wiping off the ball between halves. When the ball bounced into the trash can I was thinking there might be spit on it or something. And I just wanted to make sure.”

Shields shared the message and a towel with referee Tim Scheeler, who gladly took her up on the towel. Scheeler said Shields was very insistent.

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Girls Basketball: Gilliard calmly ends Springfield’s 5A season at the line

By Matt Smith

Rachel Conran shrugged her shoulders in disbelief, as if to say she had no idea how in the world she made that shot.

The Springfield junior launched a desperation 3-pointer from about 25 feet as time expired in the third quarter. The ball hit the backboard and went in. Springfield’s bench erupted as the Cougars took a six-point lead into the final quarter of Wednesday’s PIAA Class 5A second-round game with Mechanicsburg.

The Cougars had every right to feel confident about their chances to advance.

“After hitting that shot, I really felt that the momentum was on our side,” Conran said. “I mean, I didn’t think that we had it won because we knew this team wasn’t going to give up after the third quarter. But I felt that, going into the fourth, we were feeling good …

“Unfortunately, it just didn’t fall our way.”

The Cougars’ opponents from District 3 rallied in the fourth quarter behind junior guard Talia Gilliard, who hit the go-ahead free throws with 10.3 seconds to go. Springfield’s memorable season came to a crushing end via a 36-35 loss at Governor Mifflin Intermediate School.

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Girl’s Basketball: Scott finds her shot and helps O’Hara advance to PIAA quarterfinals

Cardinal O’Hara’s Siobhan Boylan looks to shoot against the defense of Spring-Ford’s Julianna Scogna. (Austin Hertzog – MediaNews Group)

By Matt Smith

After they made five of their first 10 attempts from the floor, the Lions cooled off considerably. Spring-Ford stormed back on the back of sensational junior guard Lucy Olsen, who poured in 12 of her game-high 18 points in the second period.

Looking for a boost before halftime, sophomore Maggie Doogan drilled a 3-pointer before time expired, giving the Lions a 23-19 advantage after two quarters.

“We had to stay calm and collected and not let our frustration get the best of us,” said Doogan, who produced nine points, seven rebounds, three blocks and three steals. “Our shots just weren’t falling in the second quarter, so I think that making that shot at the end gave us a little confidence to get going again.”

Olsen was fantastic in the second quarter, scoring four straight points in the third to pull the Rams even, but the Lions made adjustments on her. Olsen was held to four points on 2 of 11 shooting from the field. Everyone had a hand in disrupting Olsen’s game in the second half.

“(Olsen) is so tall. Syd is real guick, but (Olsen) can elevate over her and get her shot off,” O’Hara coach Chrissie Doogan said. “We thought Siobhan had good length and I thought Amaris (Baker) was locked in to make her hit tough shots. We didn’t put her on the foul line a lot, especially in the second half. And then with Maggie’s long arms helping, I felt like Maggie altered a couple shots when she did get into the lane.”

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Bonner-Prendie keeps cool while getting defensive, knocks out Valley View

Bonner-Prendie’s Tyreese Watson, seen against Roman Catholic in the regular season, scored 27 points in a 67-33 win over Valley View in the PIAA Class 4A Round of 16 Tuesday.

By Matthew DeGeorge 

You can take your pick of which stat is more illustrative of what transpired between Valley View and Bonner-Prendergast in the PIAA Class 4A Round of 16 Tuesday night.

Option A: By the end of the third quarter, Valley View had two starters foul out. Zach Kovalchik got his marching orders to the bench with 3:57 left in the frame. TJ Noto followed three minutes later.

Option B: It took until a 3-pointer by LV Pegula in the final two minutes for Valley View to get on the right side of the ledger … in the battle for points as opposed to turnovers. It finished with 33 of the former against 31 turnovers.

Either way, in a game where more Valley View energy was spent fighting the refs than the opponent, Bonner-Prendergast used its defense to dispatch its opponent, 67-33, at Bethlehem Liberty High.

The ringleader was Tyreese Watson, who went off for a game-high 27 points. He was 10-for-14 from the field, including a pair of thunderous fast-break dunks in the third quarter, making his final six shot attempts and tallying 15 in the quarter before watching the game’s final eight minutes.

As the anger of the Cougars (18-9) ratcheted up, so did the defensive intensity of the Friars.

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Cook-Stephens helps stir up a Chester Charter victory

By Matthew DeGeorge

A fair amount has changed from year two to year three in the life of Chester Charter Scholars Academy’s boys basketball programs. Among the highlights: The school’s name and the team’s coach.

But the most visible change for the Sabers, to augment the across-the-board improvement of a young squad, wore No. 1 Tuesday night. And it’s a prime reason why their first state tournament journey will last until at least the quarterfinals.

The Sabers spanked Notre Dame-East Stroudsburg, 72-55, in the PIAA Class A tournament’s Round of 16 at Bethlehem Liberty High, following the lead of junior point guard Malik Cook-Stephens.

He scored 12 points, part of a balanced offensive output. But he dished a team-high five assists, orchestrating a devastating offense that put the Sabers up 13 points after one quarter on the way to a runaway victory.

“Malik is a great point guard,” forward Damir Baez said. “He can see everything. He can see the whole floor without even looking at you. I love Malik as a point guard. … I just know he’s going to come to me, so I’ve got to be ready and finish.”

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PIAA Class 5A: Isopi the anchor as Archbishop Ryan advances

By Sam Istvan 

Christian Isopi’s voice could be heard echoing off the walls of a half-empty gym in Coatesville all night. He barked out instructions like a quarterback calling audibles at the line of scrimmage.

“Corner, corner, corner!”
“Screen coming!”
“Cutter middle!”

His teammates listened and followed his words with action during a second-round PIAA state tournament game against Elizabethtown on Tuesday night, closing passing lanes, causing deflections and creating turnovers. On a night, when Archbishop Ryan’s 1-3-1 zone looked like a finely-tuned machine, Isopi was pulling the levers.

“He’s our unquestioned vocal leader out there,” Ryan coach Joe Zeglinski said of the senior forward. “He’s been great to have around, one of the best leaders I’ve been around since I started coaching. The guys follow him, follow his voice, especially on the defensive end.”

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PIAA Second-Round Preview: Class 2A, 3A, + 6A

By Josh Verlin

The first round of the PIAA state tournaments are over, and half the fields have been knocked out; what was a group of 192 teams with state title hopes –– spread across six brackets –– entering the weekend is now 96 remaining, each four wins away from hoisting that trophy.

Class 1A, 4A and 5A continue their brackets on Tuesday night; Class 2A, 3A and 6A on Wednesday.

Chester (1-3) vs. Simon Gratz (12-1)
Cardinal O’Hara, 7:30 PM
The top seed out of District 12, Simon Gratz, fields one of the area’s best backcourts with Pub MVP Yassir Stover, alongside fellow seniors and all-Pub second team selectees, Yasir Rowell and Edward Harris. The Bulldogs have more experience inside, with senior forwards Duane Satchel and Kyonn Gordon on the block. They round out the rotation with senior wing Ross Carter. The end of Gratz’s Pub season was spoiled by MCS, who beat Lynard Stewart’s team in the regular season finale, and league championship. Gratz has moved past that tough loss, recording a major win over Roman Catholic in the District 12 championship, and beating Garnet Valley 56-51 in the first round of States. Chester, coming off of a 76-63 victory over William Allen, does much of its damage inside courtesy of 1,000-point scorer Karell Watkins as well as Senior forward Zahmir Carroll. The Clippers, historically one of the winningest programs in the area, has a formidable backcourt of its own, consisting of long range shooter, senior Faheem Berry, senior point guard Akeem Taylor, nephew of Chester coach Keith Taylor. The Clippers have had a solid year by their lofty expectations. They were on a ten game undefeated streak before losing big to a Methacton team that has made a habit of running up the score against whoever they face. The Clippers have more than enough talent to pose a real threat to Simon Gratz’s chances of advancing. 

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Webmaster’s note: Delcohoops.com will audio the Chester vs Simon Gratz game LIVE tomorrow. Our broadcast begins at 7:15 PM.

PIAA Second-Round Preview: Class 1A, 4A + 5A

By CoBL Staff

Notre Dame East Stroudsburg (11-2) vs. Chester Charter (1-1)
Liberty High School, 6 PM
After getting its first state playoff victory in school history Friday against Greenwood, the competition is going to really ratchet up for Chester Charter. Notre Dame (13-13), which plays mostly 4A-6A schools during the regular season, is under the direction of head coach Bob Mullen, who used to coach with Phil Martelli back at Bishop Kenrick and is now in his third stint with the Spartans. Notre Dame, which is on the smaller side of things, will try to push the pace but could struggle with the Sabers’ depth — coach Dan Spangler likes to use 11 or 12 players — and size, most notably 6-5 senior Damir Baez and 6-7 senior Tyler Howard. Chester Charter has a trio of juniors that will get to the basket as much as possible in Malik Cook-StevensBreon Showell and Sean Deshields

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