by Terry Thomas
Chester, seeded #2, improved to 10-1 with a 56-40 win over the visiting 7th seeded Marple Newtown Tigers in the District-1 5A Tournament Quarter-Finals. The Clippers will host the Phoenixville Phantoms on Friday, March 12th with a 7:00 pm tip-off. Phoenixville, seeded #6, scored a 54-46 upset victory over #3 seeded Holy Ghost Prep.
Senior Karell Watkins led the way for the Clippers with his standard double-double performance. He posted 11 rebounds to go along with his game high 25 points, 2 assists and 1 steal. Senior Fareed Burton Jr guided the Clippers home with 16 points, 4 assists, 4 rebounds, 3 steals and 1 block shot.
The Clippers used the inside-outside combination of Watkins and Burton opening an 11-5 cushion with 2:30 on the clock. Chester failed to score on 3 of their next 4 possessions ending the quarter with a slim 13-10 lead. Watkins scored the final two points off a steal and assist from Fareed.
The Tigers continued running their “Princeton” style offense milking the clock waiting for the breakdown in the Clippers defense. Their patience paid off coupled with the cold shooting from the Clippers to open the 2nd quarter. With just over two minutes left in the quarter the Clipper relinquished the lead and trailed for the first in the game, 16-18. Qadir Lowrie stole a pass and Jameel Burton Jr scored to tie the game at 18 at the 1:35 mark. The Tigers regained the lead before Fareed scored on an old-fashioned 3-point play putting Chester ahead 21-20. Burton would drop two free throws on their next possession giving the Clippers a 23-20 edge with 50 seconds remaining. The Clippers went to intermission ahead 24-20.
The Clippers did a better defensive job guarding the 3-point line in the 3rd quarter only giving up one trey while they spread the floor and put five players in the scoring column. Jameel Burton put in a softer jumper sandwiched between treys from Fareed and Isaiah Freeman giving the Clippers a 32-27 lead with 5:15 to go. Watkins scored on the next possession for a 34-27 margin. The deliberate play in the 3rd quarter resulted in Chester having just 9 possessions. However, they were able to score on 7 of those with turnovers on the other two. Watkins connected on four consecutive free-throws and freshman Kyree Womack scored the final two points giving the Clippers a 40-31 advantage to end the period.
The final 8 minutes was all about Chester defense. The Clippers opened the quarter with a 7-0 run holding the Tigers scoreless until the 3:08 mark with they hit two free-throws. Chester – 47, Marple – 33. Isaiah Freeman was working hard on the glass finishing with 6 rebounds but found the time to hit two free-throws during the run. Watkins scored the next 5 points as Chester now enjoyed their largest margin of the night 52-35. Watkins finished with 9 of the Clippers 16 4th quarter points. Fareed Burton was the coach on the floor as spread the offense and took advantage of the Clippers assets. Kyree Womack and senior Keenan Warren each knocked down a pair of free-throws to seal the victory.