Chester defeats Lower Merion for crown

On Friday evening, Villanova University hosted the Pennsylvania District One Class AAAA championship game between the Chester Clippers and Lower Merion Aces. Hawk Hill Hardwood was on hand for the action.

Chester got a tremendous all-around performance from junior do-it-all wing Rondae Jefferson in the victory. The Clippers defeated Lower Merion 61-53 in a game that was much closer than it needed to be, and was one or two shots from having a vastly different outcome.

Chester led throughout, up four after the first quarter, and up ten at the half. Chester's inability to convert at the free throw line allowed Lower Merion to remain within striking distance however. With a 43-31 lead heading into the fourth quarter, the Aces, coached by Greg Downer, put pressure on Chester and forced them into both turnovers and free throw situations.

Junior wing guard B.J. Johnson knocked down a 12-foot jumper from the right baseline with just under four minutes to go, pulling Lower Merion within six points, at 51-45. Lower Merion was just not able to get over the hump though, and eventually fell to Chester 61-53.

Chester junior wing Rondae Jefferson was the star of the game, absolutely filling up the stat sheet despite his struggles at the free throw line. According to Chris Vito of the Delaware County Times, Jefferson finished with 13 points, 21 rebounds, 6 assists, 4 steals, and 3 blocked shots. Jefferson could have easily had a 20-20 game had he been able to convert from the line, where I tallied him at 3-15. Jefferson is being recruited at a high-major level, and it easy to see why.

On the Lower Merion side of things, the big name is junior wing guard BJ Johnson. Johnson had 29 points Wednesday night in Lower Merion's semi-final win. Things were much different on this night, as Johnson was blanketed by Rondae Jefferson and really struggled to find his groove. Johnson finished with 6 points on roughly 2-15 shooting from the field and 2-4 shooting from the free throw line.

It was a packed house at Villanova for the highly-anticipated contest. Among those in attendance were Villanova head coach Jay Wright and Saint Joseph's head coach Phil Martelli. Villanova is recruiting Jefferson, while Saint Joseph's is recruiting both Jefferson and Johnson. In addition to those two head coaches, Rutgers assistant coach Jimmy Martelli was also in the building.

Despite his struggles at the line, Rondae Jefferson was absolutely the difference in this one. His tremendous defense on Johnson and his tenacity on the boards proved to be the difference as Chester took home the District One title Friday evening.

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