Carroll’s miracle finish helps ease Chester’s pain

Chester’s Zahmir Carroll hits the winning basket as time expires as Simon Gratz’s Edward Harris defends. (Pete Bannan/MediaNews Group)

By Harry Chaykun

The Chester High football team had its “Miracle on Lamonkin Street” last fall when a fumble bounced right into the hands of a Clippers player, who ran for the game-winning touchdown as home-standing Chester kept Academy Park from clinching first place in the Del Val League.

Now it’s time for the Clippers fans to talk about the “Miracle on Sproul Road” after Zahmir Carroll fired a shot from beyond NBA 3-point range that swished through the nets as the final buzzer sounded and gave Chester a 63-62 decision over Simon Gratz in a PIAA Class 6A second-round game at Cardinal O’Hara High Wednesday night.

The game was played despite the shooting death a day earlier of Clippers player Edward Harmon Jr.

Delcohoop’s Dave Burman and Coach Mark Jordan talk to Chester Coach Keith Taylor after Chester’s stunning last second victory over Simon Gratz. Photo by: Delcohoops/Mike Mayer

“We talked about everything, including whether to play the game or not,” Chester junior Karell Watkins said. “We remembered how Eddie was always smiling and into everything he did. And we knew that if Eddie was here, he would have told us to play the game.”’

Watkins, who was 4-for-4 from the field in the fourth quarter and finished with 24 points (18 in the second half) and 10 rebounds.was involved in the game-ending play. It came mere seconds after Gratz’s Edward Harris missed the second of two free throws with the clock reading 4.5 seconds.

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Chester comes together to grieve and celebrate in wake of tragedy


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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