By: Terry Thomas
Chester (7-2) returned to their winning ways with a 54-50 thriller at the Clip Joint over the visiting Harrisburg Cougars (10-3). The Clippers height advantage proved to be the difference as Chester won the battle of the board 35-19 to keep their winning streak at the Clip Joint alive at 36 games.
The Clippers started the contest with a 9-2 burst before Harrisburg called their 1st timeout at the 4:21 mark. Coming out of the timeout the Cougar’s Jahaad Proctor got hot scoring 8 of his team’s next 10 points but it was Chester team effort using five players to provide their offense which allowed the Clippers to hold a slim 13-12 margin at the end of the period.
Harrisburg handed Chester a little of their own medicine by starting the 2nd quarter with a 10-4 run to take the lead at 22-17; forcing the Clippers to call a timeout at the 5:34 mark. Chester answered with a 7-2 run before the Cougars hit two free-throws with 3 seconds on the clock to recapture the lead 26-24 going into intermission. Proctor led Harrisburg with with 15 of his game high 22 points in the first half. Meantime, Chester used eight different players to score their 24 points.
The Clippers leading scorer was Mahir Johnson with 6 points; followed by Khaleeq Campbell, Tyrell Sturdivant and Gabe Adesina each with 4 points, Keyonte Watkins and Maurice Henry with 2 and finally Jahmi Bailey and Marquis Collins contributing 1 point apiece.
The Clippers picked up their defensive intensity and utilized their inside presence in the third quarter limiting the Cougars to a mere 8 points. It was one shot and done for Harrisburg. Chester 6’8″ forward Gabe Adesina led the way in the third hauling in 6 of his career high 9 rebounds in the period. Offensively the Clippers went inside to 6’8” Stoney Brooke signee Tyrell Sturdivant who rolled in 6 of his co-team high 17 points. The quarter ended with the Chester ahead 36-34.
In the final period, Harrisburg was not about to go down without a fight. The Clippers fell behind 37-39 at 6:18 of the final period. Coming out the timeout, Harrisburg connected on consecutive treys to push their lead to 37-45 before Mahir Johnson scored on three consecutive possession to close the gap to 43-45.
After a couple Harrisburg free throws and a basket by Sturdivant, the Cougars called timeout at 3:39 with their lead at 45-47. Harrisburg was held without a field goal and connected on 3 of 4 free throws the remainder of the contest. Meanwhile the Clippers would drop two field goals and respond by hitting 5 of 6 free throws down the stretch. Chester defense limited Harrisburg to 4 of 12 field goals in the pivotal final period while hitting on 6 of their 9 attempts.
Tyrell Sturdivant returned to his double double days with 12 rebounds to go along with his co-team high 17 points. Mahir Johnson finished with a season high 8 rebounds and three steals. Khaleeq Campbell finished with 6 points, Bailey and Collins each ended with 3 points.
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