Jack Forrest ‘19 led the Aces with 21 points and earned game MVP honors on a night when Chester High dedicated its new court to the late, great Clippers coach Fred Pickett. Both LM and Chester fans joined in applause as Pickett's family took the court in a pre-game ceremony honoring the legendary Chester coach who led the Clippers to three state titles. Though the Aces and Clippers have had a number of memorable battles on court, there has always been respect and admiration between the two programs, reflected in the longtime friendship between Pickett and Aces head coach Gregg Downer.
Though the stakes were lower than the last time the teams squared off, the Aces and Clippers competed with heart and hustle in front of a large crowd at the Clip Joint. LM took an early lead behind a strong inside play from Josh Martin '19, who scored six of his eight points in the first half. LM led 13-9 after the first quarter and extended the margin to 27-16 at halftime.
The Aces stayed in control in the third quarter, with Forrest drilling two treys in the period and Steve Payne '19 and Darryl Taylor '19 manning the backcourt to stave off the Clippers' heightened defensive pressure. LM led 39-24 after three and increased the advantage to 18 points at 43-25 on a three by Harrison Klevan '18. But Chester had one more run and chipped away in the game's final minutes, drawing to within ten by the three-minute mark. Ultimately, the Aces made just enough free throws to ice the game down the stretch.
Next up for the Aces is the home opener Tuesday night against Upper Darby. Gametime is 7 PM.
Game notes...The Aces received a locker room visit and talk from Omar Hatcher ‘97, a starter on the 1996 LM state title team that beat Chester in the state semifinals en route to the team’s first state championship in more than 50 years.