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