By Peter Schnatz
When the dust settled at Temple University’s Liacouras Center Saturday afternoon, the granular aspects of a Chester season that just ended at the hands of Reading obscured the Clippers’ underlying realities.
To get to the PIAA quarterfinals is a monumental achievement. Just ask the 4,000 or so Reading fans who trekked to North Broad St. to boisterously fete their Red Knights’ 73-64 victory. For Chester to return within three wins of a state title after a barely-.500 season is the kind of accomplishment a coach lists as the first bullet point on his resume.
The mind-boggling stats that swirl around the Clippers — that Saturday was the program’s 31st state quarterfinal, that it hadn’t lost in one since 1999, a run of 11 straight wins in a do-or-die game that had gradually lost that second option — hardly dampen that.
But walking off the court for the final time, the Clippers had plenty to lament. For a program that catalogues its history like few others, the final summation of the 2015-16 bunch defies tidy categorization.
Everything seems to be couched in qualifiers. Chester had a great season … for a team that was 14-11 last year and started 2-5 this season. Chester really hit its stride … though the loss to Plymouth Whitemarsh in the District One final and Saturday’s setback, both at Liacouras, temper that praise.
Chester all-time squads fall into several classifications. Some were defined by a star player, a Jameer Nelson or a Zain Shaw. Some were team-centric through and through, one that made you marvel at how a workmanlike assembly of no-names obliterated competition and created a whole so much greater than the sum of its parts.