Chambers boys, girls in good shape heading into area tournament

Published 7:56 pm Monday, January 21, 2019

LaFAYETTE — The Chambers Academy boys basketball team is off to an undefeated start in area play. The Rebels are now 11-4 overall and 3-0 in the area after wins over East Memorial Christian Academy, Cornerstone Christian and Restoration Academy.

“We’ve gotten better,” Chambers Academy boys head basketball coach Jason Allen said. “Progressively, we’ve gotten better every week. I think we’re playing our best basketball right now. The first half of the season is a searching time where you’re figuring out what you all do well, and what they don’t do so well. You try to put your guys in the best position to be successful from a scheme standpoint.”

The team is led sophomore Payton Allen, who is averaging 25.7 points and 10.1 rebounds a night.

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“Pretty much, our entire offense runs through him,” Coach Allen said. “We want to make sure that it touches his hands every possession that we can. He’s a really great facilitator when the other team focuses on him a lot. He does an excellent job of getting it to whoever is open, or if the defense lets him take a shot, he’s fine with that too.”

Senior Colton Hand has caught fire from deep some nights this season, while Austin Sluter and Raphe Daniel have rebounded the ball well. Daniel transferred to Chambers Academy last fall from Valley High School.

“Raphe adds toughness to our team. He’s really physical, and he plays extremely hard,” Coach Allen said. “He’s averaging double-figure rebounds. He’s all over the place, he goes after every loose ball, and he gets there. Sometimes, it gets him in foul trouble, but he’s learning that he can’t get every single ball even though he wants to.”

The Rebels have three more area games remaining, with all of them being on the road. Chambers Academy plays at East Memorial, the defending state champions, tonight. The team looks to wrap up the regular season on Feb. 2 with a rescheduled matchup against Springwood.

The Chambers Academy girls basketball team is 6-8 overall with a 2-1 record in area play.

“We started out at the beginning of the year 3-0,” Chambers Academy girls head basketball coach Brandi Fuller said. “Over the course of December and Christmas break, we didn’t play too well then. We really picked it back up last Friday night against Restoration, which was an area win for us. Overall, I think we’ve been up-and-down.”

The team’s youth possibly contributes to the inconsistencies this season. The Rebels are currently starting one senior, one junior, two sophomores and a freshman. The bench is dominated by freshmen players as well.

“We don’t shoot well,” Fuller said. “We play really hard, we hustle, we dominate the boards usually, but we don’t shoot well. We don’t shoot a very high percentage.”

Cutting down on turnovers is also one of  Fuller’s goals with the team heading into the postseason.

Senior Tate Reese has led Chambers Academy so far this season on the post. Reese’s fellow teammate in the post is sophomore Brittany Stephens, who scored a season-high 38 points for the Rebels earlier this season.

The Chambers Academy girls get another regular season opportunity to defeat East Memorial tonight, which was the only area school that it lost to this season. With a win, Fuller said that she’s confident in her team’s chances to make the state tournament this year.

“I’m very proud of them,” she said.