Chambers boys advance to state final after 62-34 win over Abbeville
Published 10:22 pm Thursday, February 14, 2019
MONTGOMERY — The Chambers Academy boys basketball team advanced to the state championship game with a 62-34 win over Abbeville in the semifinal on Thursday afternoon.
“It feels great,” Chambers Academy boys head basketball coach Jason Allen said. “I thought it was a dominating performance. Our team defense was exceptional, and that was the difference in the game.”
The Rebels (18-5) played half-court man-to-man defense and forced Abbeville to the left side of the court for a majority of the game, which slowed down Abbeville’s leading scorer. Chambers Academy’s defense allowed the Rebels to get in Abbeville’s passing lanes and force many turnovers. The Rebels took advantage of Abbeville’s slow offensive start and coasted for the remainder of the game.
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“It means that our team has gotten better all year long,” Coach Allen said. “It’s the sign of a great team. We’ve seen a lot of improvement over the last week and a half of practice in our man-to-man. We play five against the ball. We’re always looking to help. We’re always thinking ‘where’s the ball, where’s my man’ at all times, and we suffocated them. I thought we sucked the life out of them. We stayed in front of them. On our team, the offense is going to come. We have some guys that can score the ball. I thought we controlled the tempo of the game, it feels great and now we’re one step from hopefully winning the state championship.”
The Rebel faithful had a strong showing at the semifinal. The student section came up with many chants, including “ball hog” for one of Abbeville’s star players who isolated often on the offensive side of the ball.
Abbeville’s student section responded by chanting “ball hog” every time Chambers Academy sophomore Payton Allen touched the ball for the remainder of the game.
“Payton never gets rattled,” Coach Allen said. “That’s the characteristic that describes him the most since I’ve seen him play. He’s cooler than the other side of the pillow. That’s a great trait to have.”
Saturday marks the first state championship appearance for Chambers Academy since 2015. The last time the Rebels won the title was in 2014. Chambers Academy is prepared to face Evangel Christian in the game, a team who defeated Southern 70-45 on Thursday in the semifinal.
“We’ve got to defend, and we’ve got to rebound,” Coach Allen said. “Offensively, we cannot turn the ball over. We only allowed five offensive rebounds against Abbeville and we only had eight turnovers. Our goal is to be 10 or below. Earlier in the year, we turned the ball over 10 to 15 times a game, and it hurt our chance to win games. If you keep the other team under 10 on offensive boards and our team under 10 turnovers, then you have a good chance to win.”
Saturday’s championship will tip off at 3 p.m. EST. at the Multiplex.