The Chester High School Yellow Jacket boys played great basketball over the weekend to move into a first-place tie in the Black Diamond Conference.
Chester beat the previously undefeated Bearcats at Christopher Friday night, in an action-packed nail-biter that went right down to the 2.6-second mark when Chester's Jared Landeros drained a pair of free throws to win the game.
On Saturday, the Jackets kept their winning streak alive by defeating the Vienna Eagles, 65-49.
CHS 52, Bearcats 50
Christopher jumped out to a 17-14 lead after the first quarter. Matt Korando, Jordan Hughes and Eli Hughes each scored four points and Jared Landeros added two in that opening period.
The Jackets edged the Bearcats 11-10 in the second quarter, led by Landeros and Trace Fricke with four apiece and a huge trey by Chance Mott. At halftime Christopher led Chester by two points, 27-25.
The third period was another close battle. Nate Heffernan led CHS on a 4-2 run to tie the game, 29-29 early in the quarter. Christopher responded with two treys to lead, 35-31 at 4:51. With just 3-minutes left in the third quarter the Jackets tied the game again, 35-35 after Korando and Landeros managed a 4-0 run.
To end the quarter, Christopher responded with a 4-0 run of their own to lead, 39-35, at 1:30. Matt Korando made a big move to the hoop with 27.3 seconds to play and earned a fee throw for the chance to complete a 3-point play the traditional way. He missed his free throw but Ethan Stumpe made a monster rebound only to trip and fall, turning the ball over to Christopher. CHS trailed by just two points, 39-37.
With 5.5 seconds remaining, the Jackets sent Christopher's Anthony Rolla to the line. He sank both shots to end the quarter with a 41-37 Bearcats lead.
Chester had the ball to start the 4th quarter. Both teams committed fouls in their first possessions. At the 7:00 mark Matt Korando knocked down another shot and a minute later Jared Landeros scored and made a free throw to take a brief, 42-41 lead for the Jackets.
Christopher's Rolla came up with a nice basket to retake the Eagle lead, 43-42. Chester's Nate Heffernan tied the game 43-43 with 5:23 to play in the game. Christopher's Rolla answered with a huge 3-pointer to retake the Eagle lead, 46-43.
Immediately following a mask timeout, Jared Landeros stole the ball on a Bearcats inbound pass and drove the length of the floor for a layup. He was fouled on the shot and went to the line for two free throws. He made the first but missed the second. CHS trailed, 46-44.
The Bearcats added two more points on a basket by Mason Goins at 3:47 to take a 48-44 lead. Chester Coach Brad Norman called a quick timeout to regroup. Just when the Bearcats appeared to be gaining some momentum, Chester's Nate Heffernan drained a monster three-pointer to get Chester back in the hunt, down by only one point, 48-47 with 2:58 to play.
With 1:35 left, Chester committed back-to-back fouls which resulted in Goins making two free throws to give the Bearcats a 50-47 lead.
With time running down, Heffernan came to the rescue again, by draining his second huge three-pointer in less than two minutes. The game was tied, 50-50 with just 1:11 to play.
As the clock ticked down, Rolla, Christopher's go-to guy, put up a shot with 25.1 seconds left. His shot missed and Chester's Jared Landeros got the ball and drove to the basket for a last second layup. He missed his layup, but was fouled and was awarded two free throws.
With 2.6 seconds on the clock, Landeros, who had missed 3 of 5 free throws to that point, stepped to the line and calmly sank both shots to retake a Chester lead, 52-50.
Christopher's last-ditch effort failed. As the buzzer sounded, the Jackets had earned the win and defeated an undefeated Christopher Bearcats team to move into a tie for 1st place in the BDC.
Chester: Chester was led by Jared Landeros with 16 points, followed by Matt Korando (10), Nate Heffernan (9), Eli Hughes (6), Trace Fricke (4), Jordan Hughes (4) and Chance Mott (3).
Christopher: The Bearcats were paced by Anthony Rolla (16), Mason Goins (14), Snider (11), with other points scored by Kye Garver (6) and Peyton Mazur (3).
CHS 65, Vienna 49
Coming off a big win Friday night, the Jackets were fired up to face Vienna on Saturday. Chester's Matt Korando scored the first points of the game on a power move to the hoop just 50 seconds into the 1st quarter. Vienna answered with a bucket 30 seconds later to tie the game at 2-2.
Jacket Jordan Hughes hit a basket, which stated a 10-0 run for Chester. To end the quarter, Chester had a nice 12-10 run to lead 24-12, a flurry of scoring in which Jared Landeros and Nate Heffernan both hit threes and field goals. Matt Korando hit a basket at the buzzer.
Vienna's Skylar Blankenship started the second quarter with a monster slam dunk just seconds into the period. Chester's Jordan Hughes answered with a trey which started a Yellow Jacket 14-6 run. CHS led, 41-20 with just 19-seconds to play in the half.
During that run, Heffernan drained his second three of the night as well as another 2-point field goal. Korando made another basket, as did Jordan Hughes. Eli Hughes knocked down a shot and Jared Landeros made a three-pointer to end the run.
At the buzzer, Vienna's Owen Treat threw in a shot from past the arc to give the Eagles their first points since the 2:30 mark. Chester led, 41-23 at the half.
Chester's Jordan Hughes opened play the third quarter with a driving layup. He was fouled and made his free throw to complete the traditional three-point play. CHS led, 46-23.
Vienna then showed some spark, going on an 8-0 run as Treat hit a three-pointer, Blankenship sank a shot, Charlie King made back-to-back free throws, and Jonathan Green sank a free throw. CHS still led, 46-31.
To close out the third quarter, Heffernan connected on his third 3-pointer of the night, Eli Hughes hit the back end of two free throws, and in excited fashion, Matt Korando made another theatrical layup with 20 seconds on the clock. The Jackets took a 16-point lead into the final period, 52-36.
In the fourth quarter Chester and Vienna each scored 13 points apiece. The opening three minutes of the period was all Eli Hughes, with a two-pointer and two free throws. CHS led, 56-38.
The remainder of the game saw the Jackets and Eagles exchanging baskets. With a minute remaining, Vienna's Treat hit his second three-pointer of the game to give him eight of the Eagles' 13 points in the 4th. Chester controlled the ball in the final 60 seconds to win the game, 65-49.
Chester: Chester had four players in double figures: Jared Landeros (19), Nate Heffernan (13), Matt Korando (12) and Jordan Hughes (12). Eli Hughes followed with nine.
Vienna: The team was paced by Owen Treat who had 16 points followed by Quentin Meyers (15), Skylar Blankenship (12), Charlie King (5) and Jonathan Green (1).