Lady Rebels preview upcoming season

Published 10:30 am Friday, November 10, 2023

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Chambers Academy’s girls basketball team took the stand at media day on Wednesday to preview the upcoming season. 

The Lady Rebels are led by head coach Jeff Hines, who is going into his fifth season as the head coach. 

During Hines’ tenure, the Rebels have advanced to the elite eight three times and also finished as the runner-up once. Hines and the team are going into the season with one goal in mind, a trip to the final four. 

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“We return everybody off of our team last year,” Hines said. “Our goal is to get to Montgomery. We believe that once you get to the final four, anything can happen. We’ve got a solid foundation.” 

Last season, the Rebels finished with a 13-13 record, but that comes after the team started out 2-7. Hines gives a lot of the credit for that turnaround to the work ethic of his players. 

Hines’ philosophy as a coach is one of tough love. Hines expects a lot from his players on and off the court. 

“I’m going to coach you hard, but I’m going to love you harder,” Hines said. “That’s what I live by. It’s about relationships for me. There are high expectations. I expect them to work extremely hard. I want the practice to be tougher than the games. Whatever it takes for us to get back to Montgomery, that’s what we’re going to do.” 

Lizzie McManus led the team in rebounding last season, but she is going to miss the first part of the season. McManus is currently dealing with an injury from volleyball season that is set to keep her out for four to six weeks. McManus is being reevaluated every two weeks. 

Even without being on the court, McManus plans to be one of the vocal leaders on the team from the sideline. 

“My biggest thing … is being as involved as I can,” McManus said. “Just doing anything I can from the sidelines, cheering and supporting.” 

When she returns, McManus is set to be the team’s dominant force inside the paint. McManus brings the most size to the team.

With McManus out, MaKenzie Gilliland’s role as a leader is going to be incredibly important. Gilliland led the team in scoring last season, and she is one of the most athletic players for Chambers Academy. 

“I just try to be a leader and help my younger ones to kind of be like me when they get older,” Gilliland said. “I try to lead by example.” 

Tyane Anthony averaged six points for the Rebels as a sophomore. In her junior season, Hines expects Anthony’s role to increase exponentially this season. 

“Once I work on myself and work on what I need to do, I believe I can help out others,” Anthony said. 

Despite just being a junior, Hines expects Anthony to be one of the leaders on the team. Hines has seen exceptional growth from Anthony as she has come up through the program, and he expects that growth to carry over this season. 

“Tyane has got exceptional leadership skills,” Hines said. “I think it’s important that we hone our younger players into leaders. Tyane has that makeup. She’ll continue to lead along with Lizzie and Makenzie.” 

The players have several matchups that they are looking forward to going into the season. Glenwood, Springwood and Edgewood are all matchups that the players look forward to as rivalry games. 

Hines does not downplay any of these matchups, but he is uninterested in putting too much weight on one game. Every game is important, and Hines is focused on the overall season. 

“I don’t really circle games,” Hines said. “I always say this is the biggest game of the year. It’s the biggest game of the year because it’s the next game. That’s how we do it.” 

Chambers Academy opens up its season with a tournament that Evangel Christian is hosting. 

The Rebels have two tournaments and three other games on the road before they finally have their home opener against Autauga Academy on Nov. 28.