When a basketball team turns the ball over 21 times, shoots 40 percent from the foul line, and lets a large lead dwindle, that team should probably be a bit alarmed.
Unless the name Chester runs across the front of the jersey. Then, it seems, all those negatives can be shrugged off. In fact, you can still win a game despite a whole bunch of sloppiness.
In an encounter between reigning state champions, Class AAAA champ Chester withstood Class A titlist Math, Civics and Sciences, 64-52, Saturday at Cheltenham as part of a Coaches vs. Cancer event.
The Clippers (4-0) stormed to an early lead, peaking at 19 points late in the first quarter. MC&S (1-3), which has lost three straight, used four second-quarter three-pointers to pull to within seven at halftime.
But Chester never lost composure, hardly ever flinched. The Clippers had just gotten a little lazy.
"From experience, when we jump on somebody like that, we're known to fall asleep," Clippers coach Larry Yarbray said.
He added: "Go into halftime up six points when you should have been up 16 maybe, then they've got life."
All in all, Yarbray thought his team played 26 minutes of good basketball, but a stretch of six minutes in the middle periods made things tense.
The Mighty Elephants outscored Chester by nine points in the second and third quarters. Chester didn't do itself any favors, shooting an ugly 40 percent (14 of 35) from the free-throw line, way below their season average of about 65 percent.
What's more, the Clippers were practically giving the ball away during MC&S's run - in which it cut the lead to three twice in the second half - totaling 21 turnovers for the game.
"It's a good win, but we had way too many turnovers and missed way too many foul shots," said Chester forward Erikk Wright, who registered an 11-point, 12-rebound double-double.
It bears repeating.
"We have to limit turnovers and we had a lot of missed free throws. If we could have limited those, we could have kept the lead up," said Chester big man Rondae Jefferson, who was 3 for 9 from the stripe but pulled down a game-high 15 rebounds. He also had seven points and three blocks.
The good news for Chester was that MC&S was even more careless with the ball, committing 25 turnovers. It did, however, shoot proficiently from the line, 71 percent. Guard Malik Starkes helped spur the Elephants, marching to the line six times in the second half and hitting five.
Guard Darius Robinson led Chester with 13 points. Elephants guard Jeremiah Worthem, the team's lone returning starter from last season, scored a game-high 14, including three treys.
Ultimately, Chester's ability to rebound proved to be a difference maker. The Clippers pulled down 50 boards. No MC&S player grabbed more than three.
Chester 22 12 8 22 – 64
Math, Civics & Sciences 8 19 10 15 – 52
C: Kareem Robinson 9, Darius Robinson 13, Dennis Willis 4, Tymier Butler 4, Shanier Cottman 6, Rondae Jefferson 7, Tavaune Griffin 2, Erikk Wright 11, Richard Granberry 8.
MC&S: Abraham Massaley 2, Tyrese Hester 6, Malik Starkes 9, Jeffon Powell 4, Jeremiah Worthem 14, Michael Reddick 5, Quentin Davis 1, Basil Thompson 9, Quadir Welton 2.
Chester's Erikk Wright and Rondae Jefferson discuss the win.