by Terry Thomas.

The pride of Chester – the Chester High School Boys Varsity Basketball Team – will return to the hardwood after almost a two-month delay to the start of the season.

The team is scheduled to open the 2020-21 season tonight, Friday, January 22, 2021, when they take on Chester Charter Scholars Academy for the “City Championship”. The Sabres will make the short drive from 15th & Highland Avenue over to 9th & Barclay to face the Clippers in the Fred Pickett Gymnasium also known as the “Clip Joint”.

The COVID-19 pandemic that abruptly halted the 2019-2020 campaign extended its reign into 2021. The impact the pandemic has on the world will be showcased in the upcoming season as games will be played without fans and all those in attendance – coaches, players, referees, etc. – will be wearing face masks. The good news is the student-athletes will get a chance to play the game they love.

Coach Taylor will be entering his fourth season with his new look Clippers having only three returnees from last year’s squad. Coach will be relying heavily on his returning senior point guard, 6’1″ Fareed Burton Jr, and Delaware County’s Player of the Year, senior 6’4″ forward Karell Watkins, to hold the team together until the new players become acquainted with Clippers basketball. Returning senior forward/center 6’7″ Shaquan Horsey will also be called upon to anchor the paint and provide a guiding light if the team is to duplicate the success of last season.

Chester will be looking for newcomers senior Jameel Burton Jr., juniors Isaiah Freeman and Qadir Lowrie, as well as freshmen Kyree Womack and Larenzo Jerkins to come up to speed quickly. They have been indoctrinated to understand that the Clipper’s goal is to win the State Championship. And that will never change. After a successful JV season the following players will be moving up to prime time intending to improve on their records: Yinka Itabiyi, Nasir Madison, Naeem Scott Jr and Keenan Warren. New to C-Pride basketball, senior guard Jermaine Turner will round out the Varsity roster.

With a shortened season the team is currently scheduled to play 10 regular season games, 6 inside the Del Val League and non-league games against Chester Charter Academy, Arundel Christian School from Hanover, MD and Philadelphia Public League powers Imhotep and Math Civics Science Charter. The Del Val League schedule was reduced by two games as Academy Park High School elected not to participate in winner sports this season.

The regular season is scheduled to end on Saturday, February 27th also at the “Clip Joint” against the Math Civic Science Academy Elephants.

The PIAA is hoping that COVID-19 will be maintained enough to get through the season thus the call for reduced or no fans in attendance. I’ll keep you informed should the Chester Upland School District lift the “No-Fans” restriction.