Sanford, Delaware’s top-ranked boys high school basketball team, burnished the state’s reputation against one of Pennsylvania’s perennial powers for three quarters on Saturday.
But it all came apart in the fourth quarter, as Chester went on a 19-4 run and held on for a 69-64 victory over the Warriors in the Coaches vs. Cancer PA/DE Challenge at Cheltenham High School.
“We didn’t handle the press well,” Sanford coach Stan Waterman said. “We got the lead, and we sort of lost control of the tempo. I think as long as we were controlling the tempo, we were in the ballgame. We lost that in the fourth quarter.”
The Warriors (1-1) rolled out to a 14-9 lead behind four buckets from Todd Hughes, only to see the Clippers close the first quarter with a 10-0 run to go up 19-14.
Sanford came back with a 10-3 surge to start the second period, and the teams went into halftime tied at 28. Hughes hit an 18-footer and a 3-pointer from the top of the key to push the Warriors ahead 37-32 with 5:14 left in the third quarter, and Sanford took a 50-44 lead into the final period.
“We had a good third quarter,” Waterman said. “We came out and spread them out a little bit, took advantage of the mismatches. And then we kind of forgot what we were doing.”
The turnovers mounted quickly in the final period, as the Clippers (4-0) scored the first 11 points. Chester kept pouring it on, and two free throws by Mahir Johnson pushed the Clippers’ lead to 63-54 with 2:37 to go.
“They just wore us down in the end,” Waterman said. “They do a nice job of dumping it down and doing what they’re supposed to do. That’s why they are as good as they are and have the reputation they have.”
Chester got big games from two Glasgow High transfers, as Johnson scored 20 and 6-foot-8 Tyrell Sturdivant added 16. Hughes was brilliant for the Warriors with 26 points, and University of Delaware signee Anthony Mosley added 17.