By Terry Thomas
Chester (8-1) celebrated “Senior Night” with a thrilling 63-60 victory over the visiting Math-Civics-Science Charter Elephants. The win gives the Clippers a 4-1 record in the series against the Elephants. Prior to the start of the game the seniors from the Boys and Girls Basketball teams along with the Cheerleaders were honored. This marked the first game where fans were in attendance as the parents got to see their children perform. A “Thank You” to the Superintendent for lifting the ban on this special day.
The teams exchanged baskets to start the game when junior Qadir Lowrie passed a dime to senior Karell Watkins at the 4:00 mark to give the Clippers the lead 6-5. This marked the fourth lead change. The Elephants ran off eight straight points for a 13-6 advantage. Freshman, 5’10” guard Kyree Womack rebounded the missed MCS shot and feed Watkins who completed an old-fashioned three-point play to stop the bleeding at the 1:29, Chester now trailed 9-13. Womack stole the next MCS possession and senior Jameel Burton Jr got an offensive put-back moving the Clippers closer, 11-13, with 1:00 left in the opening quarter. The teams exchanged baskets and senior Fareed Burton Jr put on up just inside the half-court line just as the buzzer sounded – “Swish” – Clippers up 16-15 after one. Wakins led the way in the first quarter with 11 of his game high 23 points.
The teams used the second quarter as a filling out process with Chester gaining a slight advantage outscoring MCS 13-10 for a 29-25 half-time lead. The Clippers used 6 different players to produce their points. Womack led the way with 3 and 2-points each was scored by Fareed Burton, Isaiah Freeman, Nasir Madison, Watkins and senior Shaquan Horsey.
Out of intermission the see-saw affair continued in the third quarter neither team being able to gain any significant separation. The Elephants fought back to tie the score at 39 around the 2:45 mark and took the lead 41-39 just under 2 minutes left in the quarter. The Burton cousins combined for three points with Jamell rebounded a missed MCS shot and going coast to coast as the Clippers regained the lead 42-41 with 1:20 remaining. The once again exchanged baskets to close the quarter with Chester ahead 46-45. Jameel and Karell guided the Clippers with 6-points apiece in the quarter.
The Clippers started the fourth quarter with a trey from Fareed followed by consecutive baskets from Watkins for a 7-0 run and a 53-45 lead with 6:22 on the clock. It was just what the partisan “Clip-Joint” crowd was waiting for – that typical “Clipper Run”. With Chester now pressuring the ball not allowing the Elephants to get their offense going, MCS called for a time-out at the 6:15 mark. MCS scored on their next to possession to close the deficit – 53-49. Jameel answered back scoring on 2 of Chester’s next 3 possession pushing the Clippers lead back to 8 points, 57-49 with 3 minutes remaining. The Clippers went scoreless on their next four possessions including missing the front-ends of two 1-and-1’s. With 40.1 seconds remaining Chester lead was down to 59-56. MCS would score on the next possession, Chester – 59, MCS – 58. Fareed Burton knocked down a bucket with 21 seconds remaining to give the Clippers a three-point cushion – 61-58.
On MCS’s next possession, the Clippers were called for a foul putting the Elephant’s 6’5″ Miami signee, Nisine Poplar on the free-throw line for two shots with 18.1 seconds remaining. He connected on the first – Chester 61, MCS – 59. The horn sounded for a Chester substitution. While the Clipper’s switch was in process the officials allowed the shooter to shoot, he missed and the confusion began because while he was shooting Chester ended up with six players on the floor. The officials huddled and came to the table with their decision. The shooter would get to reshot his second shot, Chester would be given a Technical Foul resulting in MCS getting two additional shots and the ball. Reminder there is still 18.1 seconds remaining. Poplar connected on the first free-throw. Chester – 61, MCS – 60. He failed to connect on either technical free-throw. Fareed stole the inbound pass and raced the length of the court to score for the final margin.
Jameel Burton Jr and Fareed Burton Jr joined Watkins in double figures with 14 and 13 points respectively. Jameel also finished with 6 rebounds, 2 assist and 1 steal. Fareed added 4 assists, 4 rebounds and 3 steals. Isaiah Freeman finished with 4 points and 7 rebounds. Kyree Womack added 3 points to go along with 3 rebounds, 2 steals and a career high 5 assists. Qadir Lowrie, Nasir Madison and Shaquan Horsey each with 2 points. Off the bench, 6’5″ freshman Larenzo Jerkins contributed 2 rebounds, 1 steal and 1 blocked shot.
The Clippers will play their final regular season game on Monday, March 1st when they travel to Boothwyn to take on the Chichester Eagles in Del Val League action.