Chambers Academy boys lace up one last time this season for state title

Published 11:23 pm Friday, February 15, 2019

LaFAYETTE — The Chambers Academy boys basketball team looks to add another trophy to its collection today.

The top-seeded Rebels (18-5) will be playing another No. 1 seed in Evangel at 3 p.m. EST. at the Multiplex at The Cramton Bowl in Montgomery for the AISA Class A boys basketball state championship.

“It feels great,” Chambers Academy boys head basketball coach Jason Allen said after the team’s 66-34 semifinal win over Abbeville Christian. “But now we’re one win away from winning the state championship. We’re not happy to be here.”

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Chambers Academy dominated the competition its way to Saturday’s big game. After finishing the area tournament with an overall record 10 wins over .500 (15-5), the Rebels have steamrolled through the state tournament.

After a win against Layman Ward and a first-round bye, Chambers Academy toppled Wilcox 63-35. A couple of days later in the semifinal against Abbeville, the score looked very similar.

“I thought it was a dominating performance by our entire team,” Coach Allen said. “Our team defense was exceptional.”

Chambers Academy’s defense forced Abbeville to get off few shots in the contest, as well as give a handful of transition baskets for the Rebels in open court. The team prevented Abbeville star guard Jackson Blalock from going downhill as much as possible, and forced the offense as a team to go left, which was the team’s gameplan.

“Anytime as a coach that your team carries out the game plan that you try to accomplish, then you feel really satisfied and fulfilled as a coach,” Coach Allen said.

Offensively, the story remained the same as it has for most of the season for the Rebels. Payton Allen led all scorers with 21 points, while Colton Hand and Austin Sluder also finished in double digits with 12 and 10 points respectively. Raphe Daniel finished with 9 points. Daniel and Sluder lead a large Chambers’ advantage on the boards, allowing Abbeville to get many second-chance opportunities after missed shots.

Saturday marks the last game of seniors Sluder, Hand and Rodricqus Dark, who were all smiles during Thursday’s semifinal.

“To play in this setting, everything in your body says that this is bigger,” Coach Allen said. “It gets everything going, and it’s fun. We’ve had a great season so far. We’re 18-5, having a chance to play for a state championship and I told the guys at the beginning of the year that if they do what we ask them to and you’re coachable, and they have been coachable, we’ll have a chance to do this. It’s something they’ll never forget for the rest of their lives, and I’m glad they’re having fun because it is a game. It’s meant to have fun.”

After winning the JV volleyball and varsity football state championship this year, the Rebels have the prime opportunity to one more title to the school’s name on Saturday.