How did that happen?
"They believed," Clippers coach Fred Pickett said.
Chester (25-6) will face Glen Mills in the state quarterfinals on Saturday at a time and location to be determined. Glen Mills advanced last night by beating Lancaster McCaskey.
"When the chips are down, they really rely on each other," Pickett said. "When we're in dire straits, that's when they play their best basketball. The desire picks up two or three levels, and sometimes other teams can't rise with it."
Stewart, a 5-foot-7 junior point guard, came through. In the final minute of regulation, he hit a three-point basket, two free throws and a jumper in the lane with 3.3 seconds left. That sent the game into its first overtime with the teams tied, 48-48.
Chester and Hatboro-Horsham managed just a basket each in the first overtime. Chester held the ball for almost the last two minutes, trying to get the last shot. They got it.
But Stewart, who finished with a game-high 32 points, found traffic in the lane with just seconds to play and wisely dished the ball to Usef Dorsey.
His shot missed. Off to double OT, tied at 50-50.
Stewart scored seven of the first nine points in overtime to give the Clippers a 57-52 lead with 2:08 to play.
The Hatters (23-7), who were led by Herb Courtney's 24 points, got within three with 46 seconds to play, but the Clippers held them off.
"I just want to get to Hershey," Stewart said. "I didn't want to go home this early."
Throughout the game, the Clippers never looked rattled. They never looked down.
They just looked like they knew they would win.
"We knew we still had a chance to win," Stewart said. "As long as there's time on the clock we could pull it off."
Future opponents should keep that in mind.
H-H 10 10 13 15 2 8 - 58
Chester6 17 6 19 2 14 -64
HH: Jamie Abercrombie 3, Herb Courtney 24, Dan Teets 4, Brian Goodwin 10, Matt Baker 8, Mike Cheatle 9.
C: Kevin Thomas 6, Andre Stewart 32, Shaheer McBride 2, Jonathan Thompson 2, Ken Tribbett 4, Devon McClendon 18.
Contact staff writer Todd Zolecki at 215-854-4874