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Chester wins back to back CITs

  • Fans and players storm the floor of Chester High School's Colbert Gymnasium, after the Jackets seal the double overtime win over Waterloo to win the 2020 CIT championship.

    Fans and players storm the floor of Chester High School's Colbert Gymnasium, after the Jackets seal the double overtime win over Waterloo to win the 2020 CIT championship.
    Jim Beers photo

  • Chester's Ian Reith (32) jumps ball against Waterloo Bulldog Dustin Crawford (1) in the first overtime of the 2020 CIT championship game.

    Chester's Ian Reith (32) jumps ball against Waterloo Bulldog Dustin Crawford (1) in the first overtime of the 2020 CIT championship game.
    Jim Beers photo

  • Ian Reith, left, and DeOndre Martin were named to the CIT All-Tournament Team and Reith was also named MVP of the tournament.

    Ian Reith, left, and DeOndre Martin were named to the CIT All-Tournament Team and Reith was also named MVP of the tournament.
    Jim Beers photo

  • The Chester High School Cheerleading Squad won first place in the 2020 Chester Invitational Tournament competition -- for the second year in a row. Front row, from left are Amira Al-Jasim, Ashtyn Jany (with plaque) and Jessica Handel. Back row, from left, Alex Hennrich, Reese McCormick, Kennedy Herrell, Lauren Soellner, Emma Eggemeyer and Savanna Guebert. The team is coached by Alissa Herrell and Amanda Middendorf.

    The Chester High School Cheerleading Squad won first place in the 2020 Chester Invitational Tournament competition -- for the second year in a row. Front row, from left are Amira Al-Jasim, Ashtyn Jany (with plaque) and Jessica Handel. Back row, from left, Alex Hennrich, Reese McCormick, Kennedy Herrell, Lauren Soellner, Emma Eggemeyer and Savanna Guebert. The team is coached by Alissa Herrell and Amanda Middendorf.
    Jim Beers photo

  • Jim Beers photoThe Yellow Jackets and Yellow Jacket cheerleaders - champions all - take a photo after winning the 2020 CIT.

    Jim Beers photoThe Yellow Jackets and Yellow Jacket cheerleaders - champions all - take a photo after winning the 2020 CIT.

  • Jordan Hughes (5) goes up for a short jumper in the game against Saxony Lutheran. Guarding Hughes are four Crusader players including Andrew Schwarting (34), Logan Pruitt (50), and Mason Dunn (4) and Paul Adams (2).

    Jordan Hughes (5) goes up for a short jumper in the game against Saxony Lutheran. Guarding Hughes are four Crusader players including Andrew Schwarting (34), Logan Pruitt (50), and Mason Dunn (4) and Paul Adams (2).
    Jim Beers photo

 
By Jim Beers
Contributing writer
updated: 1/24/2020 12:12 PM

The 2019-2020 Yellow Jackets have achieved what only one other CHS team has done in the 58 years of the Chester Invitational Tournament: back-to-back tournament championships.

The last time were the Yellow Jacket teams coached by Jim Hinkle, in 1974-75 and 1975-76.

Moreover, besides the two back-to-back championships won by Hinkle and Norman, no other Chester team has even ever won the CIT in this, the longest-running tournament south of I-64. After Hinkle's win in 1976, the drought began.

Norman's 2020 Jackets secured the tournament win with a heart-stopping, double overtime win over the Waterloo Bulldogs on Saturday. Senior Ian Reith was named the 2020 CIT's "Most Valuable Player" and he and DeOndre Martin were named to the All Tournament Team.

In another golden performance, the Chester High School cheerleaders won the 2020 CIT Cheerleading Competition. They are coached by Alisa Herrell, Head Coach and Assistant Coach, Amanda Middendorf.

To get to the tournament championship game, the Jackets had to go through the Shawnee Redskins and the Saxony Lutheran Crusaders.

Eight teams played in the CIT and ended up in this order: 1. Chester; 2. Waterloo; 3. Saxony Lutheran; 4. Valle Catholic; 5. Valmeyer (consolidation champ); 6. New Ahtens; 7. Perryville (Mo.); 8. Shawnee

CHS 85; Shawnee 26

CHS flew past Shawnee on Jan. 14, buzzing to a 25-10 first quarter lead and never relinquishing the lead. In the second period the Jackets outscored the Redskins 23-10 to lead 48-20 at halftime. In the third quarter CHS scored 23 points to Shawnee's 2. To end the game, the Redskins outscored the Yellow Jackets, 4-2 with a continuous clock running.

Ten Yellow Jackets contributed to the victory: DeOndre Martin and Ian Reith with 20 apiece; Matt Korando (10); Jared Landeros (8), Jordan Hughes (8), Eli Hughes (7), Aiden Jany (4), Ethan Stumpe (3), Gavin Schroeder (3), and Koby Jany (2).

CHS 62; Saxony 47

Chester faced a good Saxony Lutheran Crusader team in Round 2, on Jan. 16. Chester opened with an 8-0 run behind Ian Reith's two free throws, a short jumper by Matt Korando, a layup by DeOndre Martin and a field goal by Reith. The Crusaders followed with a 7-0 run led by former Chester player, Andrew Schwarting who drained a three-pointer and a two-point field goal and Tysen Miller who made a field goal. To close out the first quarter the Jackets went on a 7-0 run to lead, 15-7, behind the work of Jordan Hughes who scored three points and DeOndre Martin who scored back-to-back field goals.

The second quarter started off with field goals by Reith and Martin and Chester led, 19-7, at 4:58. Ethan Koenig got Saxony within 10 points, but Martin hit another field goal and Korando and Ian Reith each made field goals to bring Chester's total to 25. The Crusaders closed the half with 4-of-4 free throw shooting by Jack Foeste, 1-of-2 free throws by Luke Bartens and a basket by Andrew Schwarting to bring Saxony to within nine points at the half, 25-16.

A 22-14 Chester run in the third quarter gave the Yellow Jackets a 47-30 lead after three quarters. During that run Jared Landeros drained a pair of three-pointers followed by back-to-back free throws. When Reith hit a field goal the margin was 32-18. Andrew Schwarting hit a pair of free throws for Saxony at 6:28 after which Ian Reith answered with a field goal for Chester. Jack Foeste knocked down a shot to give Saxony 22 points. With 3:30 to play in the third the Yellow Jackets had a 41-23 lead, but Saxony would outscore CHS 7-6 to end the quarter at 47-30.

Saxony outscored the Jackets 17-15 in the fourth but it was too little. Andrew Schwarting had 10 points for the Crusaders and Reith had six for Chester.

In the victory Chester had three players in double figures, Ian Reith (22), DeOndre Martin (18), and Jared Landeros (11). Other scorers were Matt Korando (5), Jordan Hughes (3), and Aiden Jany (3). The Jackets shot 54.5 percent from the free-throw line (12-22).

For Saxony, Andrew Schwarting was the game-high scorer with 23 points. Jack Foeste had 10 points, Ethan Koenig (6), Tysen Miller (4), Eldridge (2), Luke Bartens (1), and Koby Drury (1). The Crusaders shot 16-of-21 free throws from the line (76%).

CHS 50; Waterloo 47

Championship Night was fun and exciting, with a full house at Colbert Gymnasium, many of them fans from earlier games who stuck around to see the outcome. The atmosphere was similar to some of the championship nights back in the 70s when the CIT was at its height.

Chester led, 15-7 after one quarter of play. Ian Reith led the charge with back-to-back field goals, and Matt Korando hit a three-pointer. Waterloo's Ian Schrader answered with a three-pointer to bring the Bulldogs within four points, 7-3, with 4:55 remaining in the first. Waterloo got within two points, 7-5, when Austin Balabas hit a field goal, but Chester's Matt Korando came alive again with a traditional three-point play on a field goal and free throw. Waterloo's Dustin Crawford sank a basket to get the Bulldogs within three points, 10-7, but Chester finished the quarter with a 5-0 run with baskets by DeOndre Martin and Ian Reith and Jordan Hughes hit a free throw.

The second quarter was a defensive battle, where CHS outscored Waterloo 6-5 to lead 21-12 at halftime. Chester's Chett Andrews, who had been out on the injured list for about six weeks with a broken left hand, came off the bench and popped a three-pointer right away. Chester led, 18-7. Waterloo's Austin Balabas answered with a field goal, and then DeOndre Martin hit a basket to extend the Yellow Jacket lead to 20-9 with 4:58 to play in the half.

To close the half, Waterloo's Ty Lenhardt and Chester's DeOndre Martin exchanged free throws and Waterloo's Ian Schrader made a field goal. The Jackets led, 21-12 at the popcorn break.

In the second half, things got interesting. Chester's nine-point lead disintegrated as Waterloo opened with a 9-4 run to make it 25-21 at the 4:08 mark. During that run the Bulldog's Ty Lenhardt opened with a 3; Chester responded with a DeOndre Martin field goal and back-to-back free throws by Ian Reith.

Waterloo would score six unanswered points to pull within four points, 25-21. To close the third quarter, Chester would score seven more points vs. Waterloo's five points. Matt Korando hit two free throws, Ian Schrader knocked down a field goal and DeOndre Martin hit another field goal with 1:55 remaining.

Waterloo's Balabas popped a pretty three-pointer with 38 seconds to play to get Waterloo within three points with 38 seconds to play, but Andrews drained his second three-pointer at the buzzer to give Chester a 32-26 lead as they headed to the fourth quarter.

Ian Reith opened the quarter with a hard drive to the basket for two. Balabas answered with a trey. Just 11 seconds later Ty Lenhardt made a basket and was fouled. He made the free throw and suddenly Waterloo was within two points, 34-32, with 6:32 left in regulation.

A Chester turnover resulted in an Austin Balabas steal and drive to the hoop. His layup was good, and for the first time the score was tied, 34-34 with 5:36 to play.

Reith went to work, hitting back-to-back layups for the Jackets, but Ty Lenhardt struck again for two points and got his Bulldogs within two points, 38-36. Another Cheater misfire led to yet another Waterloo score when Dustin Crawford knocked down another shot with just 1:54 remaining. The score was tied, 38-38.

Chester, with the ball, worked the clock down to 11.7 seconds and Coach Brad Norman called a time out to design a final play. As the clock ran down, Ian Reith attempted a game-winning shot, but missed; Waterloo grabbed the rebound and threw up a shot that hit the rim and bounced away. Overtime!

The overtime period was set at 4 minutes. Matt Korando hit a field goal at the 1:50 mark to give CHS the lead, 40-38. Fifteen seconds later Waterloo's Ian Schrader tied the game. At the 57-second mark Jared Landeros drained a huge field goal to give Chester a 42-40 lead. Chester fans felt relieved when, with just 9.3 seconds to play, Chester got the ball back.

Waterloo called a time out. All the Jackets had to do was inbound the ball and keep possession and let the clock run out. But they couldn't do it. Waterloo recovered the inbound pass, and as time ran out, Waterloo's Austin Balabas threw up a prayer, tying the game at the buzzer, 42-42.

Another 4:00 was put on the clock. At 2:54, Jared Landeros slapped the ball out of bounds off the leg of a Waterloo Bulldog, giving Chester the ball. The Jackets turned it back over to Waterloo at 2:37. Waterloo got off a shot that missed, and on Chester's next possession Ian Reith made a field goal to give the Jackets a 44-42 lead with under two minutes to play.

Chester's defense help the Bulldogs on their next possession and the Jackets got the ball back. Jordan Hughes was fouled and hit back-to-back free throws to give Chester a 46-42 lead with 1:25 remaining. Dustin Crawford hit a bucket to pull the Waterloo Bulldogs back within two points, 46-44. He was fouled and had a chance to make it a three-point play, but he missed the free throw.

With 35.5 seconds to play, Waterloo called time out and out of that timeout the Bulldogs just missed a field goal. Reith got the rebound and was fouled immediately. At 16.6 seconds, Reith made one of two free throws to increase Chester's insurance to four points, 48-44.

The Bulldogs managed to get off a shot but Chester's Aiden Jany blocked it. Waterloo called time out with 7.3 seconds, and on Chester's next possession, DeOndre Martin was fouled and went to the free-throw line. he hit both, giving Chester a 50-44 lead.

The Bulldogs maintained their composure and Jake Wade made a miracle three-pointer with 1.1 seconds remaining, pulling Waterloo to within 3, 50-47. On the inbounds, the Jackets chose to throw the ball long. Waterloo intercepted the pass, turned toward their basket and threw up its second prayer of the overtime. It hit the rim and fell away as the horn sounded to end the game, and students stormed the floor to celebrate with the Yellow Jackets.

In the win, three Yellow Jackets had double figures, Ian Reith (18), DeOndre Martin (11) and Matt Korando (10). Other contributors were Chett Andrews (6), Jordan Hughes (3), and Jared Landeros (2). CHS made 13-of-22 free throws (59%).

Waterloo was led by Austin Balabas with 16 points, followed by Dustin Crawford (10), Ty Lenhardt (9), Ian Schrader (9), and Jake Wade (3). The Bulldogs made 3-of-5 free throws (60%).

"We played well throughout the tournament," said Chester Coach Brad Norman. He said the team made a small change, moving DeOndre Martin to the wing, "where he had more opportunity to move and run his game." Jared Landeros took over the point and did a good job with his new duties, Norman added.

Norman also was happy that the team had Chett Andrews back from the injury list.

"Chett came back at the right time," Norman said. "He was calm and surprisingly in pretty good shape after being out for six weeks with his broken left hand. He returned to practice for just one week before returning to the floor in a game."