Terry Thomas ===>The Clippers (18-6) lose a close one at the Clip Joint 50-53 to the visiting Upper Merion Vikings. With the loss Chester will face the Bayard Rustin Knights on Wednesday, March 1st and will be looking to grab one of the last three slots for the State Tournament.
The Clippers found themselves trailing 1-11 to start the game before scoring the final 5 points in the quarter to cut the margin to 5 at the end of the quarter. Chester – 6, Upper Merion – 11.
The Knights scored the first 4 points in the 2nd quarter before senior Jah’meir Springfield connected on three consecutive treys to tie the game at 15 at the 4:58 mark. Senior Ahrod Carter would connect on a trey to tie the game at 18 and senior Jordan Camper put-back dunk would give the Clippers their first lead of the game 20-18 with 2:44 on the clock. Carter would drain another trey and the Clippers led 23-20 at the intermission.
After leading 32-28 in the 3rd, Chester fell asleep defensively and found themselves trailing 33-35 at the end of the quarter.
The Clippers woes continued into the 4th quarter before 6 consecutive points from senior Jamar Sudan gave the Clippers the lead 48-47 with 1:30 left in the contest. After the Vikings knocked down 2 free throws, Chester regained the lead at 1:03 on a Carter bucket. The Clippers rebounded the miss Vikings shot and with only 4 team fouls Upper Merion was forced to foul. With 27.4 seconds on the clock, the Clippers missed the front end of a 1 and 1 and could not secure the rebound. The foul shot by the Clippers was their only foul shot of the quarter and just their 3rd in the second half. Chester’s Jamar Sudan was whistled for his 5th foul and the Vikings connected on both to regain the lead 51-50. The Clippers failed to score on their next possession and once again the Vikings found themselves at the charity strip where they score the final two points with 0.8 second remaining. The full court heave by the Clippers fell short.
Defensively the Clippers did a much better job in the final quarter limiting the Vikings to just three made baskets but their ability to knock down free throws, 11 of 12 in the quarter, propelled them to the semi-finals at Temple University.
Senior Ahrod Carter led the way with 18 points for the Clippers with 5 treys. He was joined in double figures by Jamar Sudan who finished with 14 points before fouling out. Jah’meir Springfield connected on 9 points and Jordan Camper and Michael Smith finished with 6 and 3 points respectively. Camper included 6 blocked shots and 7 rebounds to his stat sheet while Sudan added 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 block and 1 steal to his.
Chester will be looking for their second win over Rustin after starting the New Year with a tight 72-68 win over the Knights at their place back on January 3rd.