Chambers boys, girls prepares for Christmas tournament

Published 8:30 am Friday, December 27, 2019

Six games into the year, the Chambers Academy boys basketball team is trying to get back to the same level it was at last year when it competed for the AISA Class A State Championship.

Since most of the team plays on the Rebels football team, Chambers Head Coach Jason Allen is trying to get his guys in basketball shape. 

“We’ve been playing catchup to everybody else,” Allen said. “When we started, everybody else had probably played five games. We’re going to treat every game like practice.”

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Even though Allen’s team isn’t to the level they expect, the Rebels are 5-1 this year. 

“We spend a lot of time on our man-to-man defense,” Allen said. “We aren’t necessarily wrapped up in turnovers, but we want to make you make mistakes on your own. We want you to take low percentage shots.”

The Rebels bring back several players off of 2018’s championship-contending team, most notably Peyton Allen, who was a first-team all-state player in 2019.

Peyton scored more than 20 points a game last season, so he is facing more double teams this year, allowing other players to take some of the offensive burden off of him. Two of those players are Raphe Daniel and Josh Holliday.

“They’ve really helped take some of that burden off him,” Allen said. “I think we’ve played our best when they’ve all contributed.”

Hines tenure begins with girls program

After reaching the AISA Class A quarterfinals, Chambers varsity girls coach Brandi Fuller stepped down, so she could have more time to focus on other aspects of life. This opened the door for Jeff Hines’ return to coaching.

Hines, who had coached at five different schools since 1993, retired two years ago, but he wanted to return to the sideline. 

That led him to Chambers Academy. 

Six games into his Chambers tenure, the Rebels are 4-2.

The Rebels are a young team, dressing only two seniors, Lizzy and Shelly Keebler. Half of the team is made up of sophomores. 

“We’re going to play extremely hard,” Hines said. “We’ll be scrappy. We’re not the most talented, but we get the most out of our talent because our girls do play so hard.”

One area that Hines wants to see improvement from his squad is the turnover ratio. In their last game, the Rebels finished with only four assists but nearly 30 turnovers. 

The Rebels are the third game of the Cystic Fibrosis Christmas Basketball Tournament. Their opponent is cross-town rival Springwood.

“It’s a big game every year,” Keebler said. “We always look forward to it.”

The Wildcats have just one loss on the year, which came last Friday against Oak Mountain.

“It’s going to be a difficult task,” Hines said. “They have a really good team. They’re well-coached. We’re going to have to bring our A-game. If we don’t, it’s going to get really ugly quickly.”

This is the first Christmas tournament Chambers has hosted since Jason became the boys basketball coach.

“I feel like we’re going to start out strong just because it’s exciting, just hosting a home tournament,” Keebler said.