I had to be in Reading, PA from 8am-5pm and was joined by a flat tire along the way. On an exhausting drive back, I passed by ‘The High’ and saw the parking lot full of cars which reminded me of the game. Heck, it’s opening night, why not stop in for a half?

I actually caught two halves. I saw Neumann Goretti, the three-time defending 3A champ and state’s top ranked team, destroy their opponent in second half action. When you have a Quade Green running the point before he likely runs to the Kentucky Wildcats, and a Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree slashing and jamming every chance he gets before he heads to my alma mater Villanova, it was a no-contest.

The first half of Simon Gratz v. Chester was surprising. It looked like both teams were in mid-season form after the early minute jitters calmed down. Gratz was draining 3-pointers like layups and Chester was getting to the basket, playing good D, and hitting enough long range shots to maintain a small lead going into the half. Unfortunately, they also missed 8 foul shoots in the first half, but you can’t have it all. 

You’ll be proud to know that despite being convinced Gratz v. Chester would be a great game to the end, I stuck to my guns and left at halftime. 

Here’s the official game recap from Terry Thomas….

The Chester Clippers opened the 2016-17 campaign with a 70-64 victory over the Simon Gratz Bulldogs in the finale of the 4th Annual Fred Pickett Jr Classic.

The Clip Joint was filled to capacity and senior Jamar Sudan did not disappoint the fans scoring 11 of his game/career high 31 points in the opening period. Sudan earned Game MVP honors for his performance; he also finished with 10 rebounds for a season opener double-double. Joining Sudan with a career high of his own was 6’8″ forward Jordan Camper with 17 points. He also finished with a double-double by hauling 10 rebounds. The pair combined for 18 and bucket by junior Brian Randolph III enabled the Clippers to hold a slight 20-17 lead after the first quarter. Randolph had a productive evening in his first Varsity game scoring 8 points, dishing 4 assists, grabbing 5 rebounds and collecting 1 steal.

Chester did a better job defensively in the 2nd quarter limiting the Bulldogs to 12 points while producing 16 and stretching their lead to 7 points at the intermission. Chester – 36, Gratz – 29. The Clippers spread the wealth in the 2nd with six players entering the scoring column. Sophomore Jaimhy Evans (2) and seniors Ahrod Carter (3) and Jah’meir Springfield (2) joined Sudan, Randolph and Campers in the scoring column.

Coming out of intermission, the Clippers appeared to be on a search and destroy mission holding the Bulldogs to a mere 5 points in the 3rd enroute to a 20 point onslaught of their own as their lead ballooned to 22 points. Sophomore Rahmaad DeJarnette drained a trey from the top of the key and used his length to pull in 4 rebounds to add his name to the stat sheet. Again six players entered the scoring column and the Clippers took a 56-34 lead into the final quarter.

As the young Clippers became too comfortable, the Bulldogs were able to find their range and cut the lead to 5 points at 66-61 with 40.7 seconds remaining in the contest. Excellent foul shooting in the fourth by Sudan (10 for 10) and Randolph (2 for 2) coupled with an open dunk by Camper sealed the win for the Clippers.

Although they did not score, sophomore Michael ‘Man-Man’ Smith contributed 3 assists and 1 rebound while junior Timothy Johnston added 2 rebounds and 1 blocked shot in the contest. Ahrod Carter finished the contest with 5 points, 3 assist and 2 steals. Evans box score was 4 points, 3 steals and 1 rebound. The team finished with 11 assists on 22 made baskets.

The Clippers will travel to Newark. Delaware for contest on Tuesday afternoon before returning home on Saturday, December 17th to host Lancaster’s J.P. McCaskey and former Clipper Steve ‘Bird’ Powell.

feature photo: One of Jamar Sudan’s three-pointers swishing through the nets.