The Chester boys' and Mount St. Joseph girls' basketball teams are both admiring state championship trophies these days.

Chester defeated Norristown in March to win its fifth PIAA Class AAAA state title and sixth overall. (The Clippers also won the Class AAA state championship in 1983.)

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Mount St. Joseph knocked off Mercyhurst Prep to claim its first Class AAA state title.

Despite having championships in common, the teams are approaching this season from different angles. Chester is only looking ahead, asking its players to forget about last year's successes.

"We don't want to put them in comparison with the team from last year or put too high expectations on them," said new coach Larry Yarbray, a former longtime assistant and a star player at the school.

The Magic, on the other hand, are constantly reminding themselves of last season's success.

"The team will tell you that after we had the first team meeting, our goals are always the same," said coach John Miller, whose lost five of last season's top seven players to graduation. "The first thing I talk about is that we strive to win 20 games."

And a state championship.

Having an endless stream of talented players to develop has helped Chester stay competitive. However, a big factor, Yarbray said, may be the way the Clippers approach each season, especially the seasons after they win a state title.

"In all of my years being around here, we never really put emphasis on the team" from the previous season, Yarbray said. "We don't even speak on that. At Chester, we focus on winning and making long runs in the playoffs. That's what we aim for."

It would be unfair to compare any team in Pennsylvania to last season's Chester squad. But comparing this current crop of Clippers would be insane. That's because few teams in the nation could even imagine accomplishing what the Clippers did last season.

Chester went 33-1 and broke the school's single-season victory record despite playing its toughest schedule in the history of the program. The Clippers concluded that season with a 25-game winning streak. They defeated Norristown, 81-77, in the Class AAAA state championship game.

Chester's lone loss came to St. Benedict's (N.J.) Prep, which was ranked second nationally, according to USA Today. Chester was third in the same poll.

That season will be hard to duplicate - four starters have graduated, as have nine of the top 11 players from that squad. Three of those starters are on Division I college teams: Nasir Robinson is at Pittsburgh, Karon Burton at La Salle, and Russell Johnson at Robert Morris.

Chester also lost its longtime coach, Fred Pickett, who retired after the championship game. The Inquirer's Southeastern Pennsylvania coach of the year for 2008 had a career record of 331-80, with three Class AAAA state titles in 13 seasons.

The current crop of Clippers "have to build their own identity," said Yarbray, whose squad is ranked 10th in The Inquirer's Southeastern Pennsylvania preseason rankings.

"They are going to have to carry their own name. This is the 2009 team."

Yarbray went on to say that the "2008 team is gone."

"Chester has so many titles, I guess they can say that," Miller said when asked how his girls' team differed in its approach to a post-championship season.

Welcoming the attention and comparisons to last season's 29-3 dream team, Miller also focuses on his team's 2008-09 goals: to reach the Athletic Association of Catholic Academies and District 1 playoffs.

"Once we make districts," Miller said, "let's go as far as we can."

Of course, his players realize the ultimate goal is to win a state title.

"I also remind them, 'Hey, look over the last two years. We have been very successful,' " said Miller, whose squad has posted an impressive 57-6 record over that time. "Our goals have been the same."

Yarbray admits that he, too, aspires to bring another state championship to Chester.

"No question," he said. "But pretty much in Chester we let the fans talk about that. You know the people in the neighborhood, the barbershop talk."

Yarbray's primary focus is getting the team ready.

"If you put in the time and effort and do the things we ask you, we are going to win," he said. "There is enough talent here to win games.

"Believe me. There is enough in the stable."

PIAA Basketball Champions

District in parentheses.

State Class AAAA Boys

2008: Chester (1) 81, Norristown (1) 77

2007: Schenley (8) 78, Chester (1) 71

2006: Lower Merion (1) 60, Schenley (8) 58

2005: Chester (1) 74, Lower Merion (1) 61

2004: Penn Hills (7) 57, Parkland (11) 48

2003: State College (6) 76, Chester (1) 71 (OT)

2002: Harrisburg (3) 69, Uniontown (7) 62

2001: Coatesville (1) 70, Schenley (8) 57

2000: Chester (1) 73, Uniontown (7) 48

1999: Williamsport (4) 64, Erie McDowell (10) 40

1998: Harrisburg (3) 69, New Castle (7) 53

1997: Plymouth Whitemarsh (1) 50, Franklin Regional (7) 45

1996: Lower Merion (1) 48, Erie Cathedral Prep (10) 43

1995: Ringgold (7) 71, Williamsport (4) 66

1994: Chester (1) 69, Erie Cathedral Prep (10) 65

1993: Erie Cathedral Prep (10) 41, Hazleton (2) 30

1992: Steelton (3) 58, Punxsutawney (9) 49

1991: Glen Mills (1) 81, Altoona (6) 75

State Class AAA Boys

2008: Steelton-Highspire (3) 65, Susquehanna Township (3) 52

2007: General McLane (10) 57, Greencastle-Antrim (3) 55

2006: Franklin (10) 74, Communications Tech (12) 63

2005: Steelton-Highspire (3) 70, Johnstown (6) 48

2004: Moon Area (7) 52, Holy Ghost Prep (1) 50

2003: Lancaster Catholic (3) 75, Perry Trad. (8) 59

2002: Kennett (1) 72, West Mifflin (7) 51

2001: Franklin (10) 58, Allentown Central Catholic (11) 50 (OT)

2000: Steelton-Highspire (3) 68, Blackhawk (7) 56

1999: Blackhawk (7) 66, Holy Ghost Prep (1) 43

1998: Steelton-Highspire (3) 69, Chart. Valley (7) 45

1997: Susquehanna Twp (3) 64, Lewistown (4) 45

1996: Blackhawk (7) 67, Valley View (2) 55

1995: Blackhawk (7) 64, Pottstown (1) 59

1994: Beaver Falls (7) 65, Academy Park (1) 59

1993: Pottstown (1) 85, Valley (7) 66

1992: Blackhawk (7) 71, Strath Haven (1) 55

1991: Perry Trad. (8) 67, Pottstown (1) 61

State Class AA Boys

2008: Jeannette (7) 76, Strawberry Mansion (12) 72 (OT)

2007: Prep Charter (12) 68, Aliquippa (7) 66

2006: Prep Charter (12) 82, Beaver Falls (7) 51

2005: Beaver Falls (7) 71, York Catholic (3) 59

2004: Sto-Rox (7) 62, Trinity (3) 53

2003: Trinity (3) 66, Sto-Rox (7) 49

2002: Bishop Hannan (2) 70, Sto-Rox (7) 68

2001: Trinity (3) 79, Aliquippa (7) 65

2000: Shady Side Ac. (7) 55, Halifax (3) 50

1999: Annville-Cleona (3) 69, Quaker Valley (7) 57

1998: George Jr. Rep. (10) 62, Reading C. Cath. (3) 52

1997: Aliquippa (7) 57, Wilkes-Barre Meyers (2) 50

1996: George Jr. Rep. (10) 61, Reading C. Cath. (3) 59

1995: Shady Side Ac. (7) 90, Annville-Cleona (3) 75

1994: Aliquippa (7) 60, Carbondale (2) 57

1993: Carbondale (2) 65, George Jr. Republic (10) 63

1992: Carlynton (7) 52, Trinity (3) 47

1991: Mercyhurst Prep (10) GAR Memorial (2) 55

State Class A Boys

2008: Serra Catholic (7) 67, Freire Charter (12) 66

2007: Reading Central Catholic (3) 58, DuBois Central Catholic (10) 33

2006: Elk County Catholic (9) 71, Bishop Hannan (2) 61

2005: Bishop O'Reilly (2) 65, Kennedy Catholic (10) 61

2004: Bishop O'Reilly (2) 70, Sewickley Academy (7) 54

2003: Scotland School (3) 80, Union (9) 69

2002: Scotland School (3) 69, Kennedy Catholic (10) 50

2001: Kennedy Christian (10) 87, Fairfield (3) 45

2000: Kennedy Christian (10) 64, Bishop Hannan (2) 57

1999: Kennedy Christian (10) 78, Bishop Hannan (2) 51

1998: Kennedy Christian (10) 51, Holy Name (3) 38

1997: Sewickley Ac. (7) 52, Schuylkill Haven (11) 45

1996: Juniata Valley (6) 60, Bishop O'Hara (2) 43

1995: Scotland School (3) 73, Juniata Valley (6) 42

1994: Scotland School (3) 45, Duquesne (7) 43

1993: Duquesne (7) 70, Loyalsock Twp. (4) 60

1992: Duquesne (7) 85, Scotland School (3) 72

1991: Clairton (7) 85, Scotland School (3) 76

State Class AAAA Girls

2008: Central Dauphin (3) 56, Mt. Lebanon (7) 49

2007: Cheltenham (1) 68, Council Rock North (1) 54

2006: Parkland (11) 54, Council Rock North (1) 40

2005: Oakland Catholic (7) 55, Cheltenham (1) 37

2004: Mercyhurst Prep (10) 57, Harrisburg (3) 41

2003: Oakland Catholic (7) 55, Downingtown (1) 41

2002: Cumberland Valley (3) 54, Oakland Catholic (7) 44

2001: Oakland Catholic (7) 70, Council Rock (1) 52

2000: Cheltenham (1) 54, Oakland Catholic (7) 52

1999: Upper St. Clair (7) 62, Cheltenham (1) 56

1998: Downingtown (1) 63, Altoona (6) 36

1997 Downingtown (1) 55, Woodland Hills (7) 52

1996: Altoona (6) 55, Northampton (11) 48

1995: Altoona (6) 54, Allentown C. Catholic (11) 37

1994: Coatesville (1) 68, Altoona (6) 58

1993: Oakland Catholic (7) 57, Downingtown (1) 53

1992: Downingtown (1) 74, Penn Hills (7) 69 (OT)

1991: Downingtown (1) 69, Penn Hills 53

State Class AAA Girls

2008: Mt. St. Joseph (1) 53, Mercyhurst Prep (10) 43

2007: Hopewell (7) 37, Villa Maria (1) 36

2006: Hopewell (7) 57, Allentown Central Catholic (11) 40

2005: Mercyhurst Prep (10) 57, St. Basil (1) 33

2004: Allentown C. Cath. (11) 47, Lewistown (6) 42

2003: Allentown C. Cath. (11) 52, Villa Maria (10) 43

2002: Allentown C. Cath. (11) 45, Villa Maria (10) 33

2001: Allentown C. Cath. (11) 56, West Mifflin (7) 45

2000: Blackhawk (7) 67, Montoursville (4) 52

1999: Blackhawk (7) 71, Montoursville (4) 54

1998: Lewistown (6) 71, Berwick (2) 57

1997: Lewistown (6) 53, North Schuylkill (11) 45

1996: Lancaster Catholic (3) 66, North Catholic (7) 49

1995: North Catholic (7) 63, North Schuylkill (11) 56

1994: North Catholic (7) 61, Bishop Hoban (2) 22

1992: North Schuylkill (11) 73, North Catholic (7) 68

1991: Mercyhurst Prep (10) 67, Allentown Central Catholic (11) 55

State Class AA Girls

2008: York Catholic (3) 52, Northern Cambria (6) 49

2007: York Catholic (3) 58, Villa Maria (10) 44

2006: York Catholic (3) 48, Westmont Hilltop (6) 43

2005: Delone Catholic (3) 47, Westmont Hilltop (6) 43

2004: Delone Catholic (3) 46, Bishop Guilfoyle (6) 33

2003: Delone Catholic (3) 50, Girard (10) 41

2002: Vincentian Acad. (7) 45, Trinity (3) 37

2001: Trinity (3) 67, Vincentian Academy (7) 58

2000: Karns City (9) 53, Bishop Hoban (2) 39

1999: Bishop Hoban (2) 46, Girard (10) 42

1998: Girard (10) 45, Elco (3) 34

1997: Greensburg C. Catholic (7) 48, Trinity (3) 45

1996: Pine Grove (11) 67, Greensburg C. Cath. (7) 59 (OT)

1995: Merion Mercy (1) 58, Bishop Guilfoyle (6) 43

1994: Cranberry (10) 44, Dunmore (2) 43

1993: Cranberry (10) 57, Holy Name (3) 55

1992: Cranberry (10) 64, Trinity (3) 57

1991: Bishop Guilfoyle (6) 70, Delone Catholic (3) 43

State Class A Girls

2008: Marian Catholic (11) 40, Mount Alvernia (7) 34

2007: Bishop Guilfoyle (6) 43, North Catholic (7) 38

2006: Nativity BVM (11) 53, Conemaugh Valley (6) 49

2005: Serra Catholic (7) 53, Marian Catholic (11) 44

2004: Monessen (7) 70, Nativity BVM (11) 48

2003: Bishop Carroll (6) 47, Marian Cath. (11) 33

2002: Bishop Carroll (6) 59, Nativity BVM (11) 44

2001: Kennedy Christian (10) 48, Nativity BVM (11) 46

2000: Nativity BVM (11) 64, Saegertown (10) 54

1999: Nativity BVM (11) 74, Bishop Guilfoyle (6) 67

1998: Mahanoy Area (11) 54, Bishop Carroll (6) 33

1997: Williamsburg (6) 55, Marian Catholic (11) 43

1996: Elkland (4) 56, Bishop Carroll (6) 44

1995: Lebanon Catholic (3) 50, Williamsburg (6) 46

1994: Lourdes Regional (4) 41, Bishop Guilfoyle (6) 32

1993: Bishop Guilfoyle (6) 52, Lourdes Regional (4) 26

1992: Lebanon Catholic (3) 75, Clarion (9) 57

1991: McConnellsburg (5) 66, Nativity BVM (11) 60

Contact staff writer Keith Pompey
at 610-313-8029 or kpompey@phillynews.com.