Latest posts by Teddy Bailey (see all)
- Lower Merion, Chester Advance to State Final (Storify) - March 19, 2013
- Chester 55, Great Valley 42: Jefferson, Clippers Advance to State Semifinals - March 16, 2013
- Coatesville 52: J.P. McCaskey 51: Boggs, Red Raiders Upset Tornado - March 9, 2013
- Sean Burke also contributed to this story
When B.J. Johnson missed a rare dunk midway through the 4th quarter, Lower Merion knew it just wasn’t their night.
Rondae Jefferson responded moments later with a thunderous dunk of his own to put an exclamation point on Chester’s 60-46 victory over the Aces. Jefferson finished with 13 points and 13 rebounds as Chester was crowned the District 1 Class AAAA Champions. B.J. Johnson netted 11 points and nine rebounds for Lower Merion, who will go on to play Carlisle in the first round of the state playoffs. The Herd finished fifth in the District 3 playoffs.
“They played us hard and played us like they wanted to win”, said Jefferson, “We worked together. I was telling the guys that we had to do the little things to be better and to win the ballgame.”
The Clippers have a date with Cumberland Valley in the first round of the PIAA Class AAAA State Tournament. Cumberland Valley finished seventh in the District 3 tournament.
Chester gained a slim advantage in the first half and went into the locker room with a 26-24 lead. Lower Merion played well, for the most part, in a back and forth 16 minutes.The Aces came out inspired to begin the third quarter with a quick 6-0 run, but Chester found a rhythm after that. Darius Robinson sparked a 10-0 run for the Clippers and never trailed after that. DeJarnette finished with 15 for the two-time defending state champs.
“Our defense was kind of sluggish early on. It was a tough game,“ said Chester coach Larry Yarbray, “We made some matchup adjustments (at halftime).They were getting to the rim too easy and got too many layups. We forced them to make jump shots.”
For Lower Merion, costly missed free throws and 17 turnovers crushed any hopes of an upset. They also could have used some better three-point shooting from their talented guards. One bright spot was a 42-35 rebounding advantage, which was the reason that they hung around in the first half.
“You have to play 32 minutes of good basketball against them. We were pretty pleased at where we were at halftime,” said Lower Merion coach Gregg Downer, “We shot the ball terribly from three and from the free throw line. Really poor three-point shooting and sub-par free throw shooting is a bad formula.”