Chester Clippers 2020-21 Season Summary

By Terry Thomas

The 2020-2021 basketball season was definitely one for the history books. To begin, the start of the season was delayed until January 2021 as COVID-19 restrictions were finalized and implemented. All the Del Val League teams did not participate. Academy Park elected not to field a team thus shortening the League schedule to six games instead of eight. Travel restrictions caused the cancellation of games resulting in Chester’s ten game regular season schedule.  

This season also marked several firsts: 1) Chester High played Chester Charter Scholars Academy for the first “City Championship” game since St. James High School back in 1986-87; St. James Catholic High School closed in 1993. 2) The District Tournament was limited to the Top 10 teams based on their Power Rating and all games were play on the home court of the higher seed including the Championship game. 3) The State Tournament consisted of only the District Champions with games played at the home court of the higher seed with the exception of the Championship game. 

The Clippers opened the season winning their first four games before losing a close one to Imhotep Charter. The loss snapped the Clippers 7-game win streak and their 21-game win streak at the Clip Joint. They bounced back and won their remaining five regular season games. Along the way capturing the Del Val Championship, their fourth consecutive undefeated Championship. Goal #1 – Accomplished. 

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PIAA Class 5A Girls Basketball: Confident O’Hara produces complete effort in winning state title

OHara State Championship

Cardinal O’Hara’s Maggie Doogan fires a 3-point shot amid the Lions’ state title triumph over Chartiers Valley Saturday at Giant Center in Hershey. PETE BANNAN – MEDIANEWS GROUP

By Matt Smith

The early returns to Cardinal O’Hara’s 2021 season were cause for concern.

The Lions started the year losing three of six in the Catholic League. At the time, third-year Lions coach Chrissie Doogan challenged her players to be better and learn to finish games. She wanted her juniors and seniors to play like veterans and lead by example.

“We lost at West Catholic, the third loss of the season, and that was kind of our turning point,” said junior forward Maggie Doogan, the coach’s daughter. “It was, like, do we really want this? How badly do we want this? We had to show that we wanted it.”

Ultimately, the Lions answered their coach’s call and became a great team, one for the local history books.

After that look-in-the-mirror moment earlier in the season, the Lions rattled off nine consecutive victories and advanced to the Philadelphia Catholic League final before embarking on a three-game journey in states. It was one that culminated Saturday in a 51-27 rout of Chartiers Valley at the Giant Center in Hershey, O’Hara celebrating the school’s first PIAA basketball championship.

The outcome was never in doubt.

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Girls: Victory in Hershey puts O’Hara’s name in (police) lights

Ohara girls

The 2021 PIAA 5A state champion Cardinal O’Hara basketball team posing after their 51-27 win over Chartiers Valley Saturday in Hershey at the Giant Center. PETE BANNAN – MEDIANEWS GROUP


By Bob Grotz

Long before the PIAA Class 5A championship game began Saturday, the Cardinal O’Hara girls had a sense that they would make history.

The bus ride to the Giant Center was so full of energy, Sydni Scott showing her teammates a cool dance, they figured something remarkable and historical was next. Voila, the Lions recorded the school’s first state championship in basketball.

“The bus ride, we just kept telling ourselves that we’ve got it,” said Scott, who scored a game-high 16 points. “Just bring energy, talk and play hard. Oh, and I fell. The bus driver hit the brakes mid-ride and I fell. But I feel fine.”

The same could be said of the Lions, who on the way to a 51-27 victory, held Chartiers Valley to a season-low 27 points.

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Simply the best? Debatable … but these Lions will always be first state champions

OHara State Championship

Cardinal O’Hara’s Lions celebrate their PIAA Class 5A girls basketball championship victory over Chartiers Valley Saturday evening at Giant Center in Hershey. PETE BANNAN – MEDIANEWS GROUP


By Bob Grotz

From the rousing sendoff with the school band in Marple, to the masked and sparsely populated Giant Center witnesses serving as a reminder of the world in which we live, the Cardinal O’Hara girls’ basketball team collected a lifetime worth of memories Saturday.

Even the ride to the PIAA Class 5A state final was special, Syndi Scott shrugging off a fall during a sudden stop to wind up leading everyone with 16 points. The alumni support, the well wishes of classmates and parents, even the conversations the Lions shared on the 90-minute bus ride west are a part of the legacy. The Lions earned every accolade, and five, 10, 20 years from now they’ll get together and live it again. Particularly the game.

The Lions and coach Chrissie Doogan crushed Chartiers Valley, 51-27, to bring home the school’s first girls basketball state title, and the first state championship for a Delaware County girls’ program since Chuck Creighton and Archbishop Carroll won it all in Class 4A in 2009.

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Girls: Cardinal O’Hara hoping third trip to state final pays off

Maggie Doogan

Maggie Doogan scores a basket in the first half of Cardinal O’Hara’s 40-28 victory over Springfield in the PIAA Class 5A semifinals Tuesday. Doogan, a junior forward, watched from the Giant Center seats when O’Hara played for a state title back in 2016. Pete Bannan – MediaNews Group

By Matt Smith

Cardinal O’Hara is hoping the third time is the charm.

The Lions have appeared in two PIAA championship games. Each time, they have come home empty-handed.

In 2009, Daily Times Player of the Year Stephanie Holzer re-aggravated an ankle injury as the Lions lost to Mount Lebanon, 57-48, at Penn State University’s Bryce Jordan Center. Seven years later, behind two-time Player of the Year Hannah Nihill and All-Delcos Mary Sheehan, Kenzie Gardler and Maura Hendrixson, O’Hara suffered a 57-34 defeat to Cumberland Valley, which celebrated its third straight PIAA title at the expense of the Lions. In both prior final appearances, O’Hara was competing in Class AAAA, the PIAA’s highest enrollment classifications until 2017.

Delaware County’s top girls basketball program has a third chance to make history Saturday. The Lions will meet reigning Class 5A champion Chartiers Valley (15-3) at 5 p.m. at the Giant Center in Hershey.

O’Hara (14-4) is the District 12 champion and Philadelphia Catholic League runner-up. The Lions were victorious over previously undefeated Springfield, 40-28, in an all-Delco semifinal contest Tuesday. Three of O’Hara’s four losses have come by three points or fewer. The Lions lost two of three against Catholic League champion Archbishop Wood, which is playing for the Class 4A title Saturday at noon.

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