Rebels battle in first playdates of the summer

Published 7:34 pm Tuesday, June 4, 2024

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Chambers Academy’s boys basketball team faced off in its first playdates of the summer and went 0-2 with losses to LaFayette and Wadley. 

The Rebels are coming off of a tough season, and the team also had several departures. Grey Hayley led the team in scoring last season and has transferred to a different school. Chambers Academy also had several starters graduate. 

Head coach Jason Allen is starting from scratch with this roster, with very few guys playing heavy minutes last season. Tuesday’s playdate gave Allen his first chance to see which guys he will be able to count on next season. 

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“That junior class with Cameron Gooden and Jake Reames,” Allen said on who he expects to step up next season. “We had a really good junior high group. We’re just trying to teach them the ropes as well. We’re just trying to learn about ourselves, and today was a good opportunity to get a little information.” 

Every coach in every sport is busy during the summer, but Allen is busier than most. Allen is the only coach in Chambers County who works both as his school’s head basketball coach and head football coach.
Coaching both sports creates its own set of challenges. Football season is approaching, and Allen is working full force to help the Rebels get back to the state championship, but he also can not ignore basketball season during the process. 

“It’s hard,” Allen said. “The kids have to play. If you’re going to be good at basketball, you’ve got to spend a lot of time playing it. We’ve got to find ways to get in the gym, and we have to enjoy basketball if we want to be good at it.” 

Coaching both sports limits how many basketball practices Allen can coordinate during the summer. Instead, Allen has to put an emphasis on his athletes practicing on their own time and working on skills. 

“You can only have so many structured practices in a day or in a week,” Allen said. “Kids want to have a summer. It’s a fine balance there. We’ve got to stay in the weight room and get stronger… We’ve got to become more skilled players. We’ve got to spend more time on the court if we want to get better and take another step.” 

Chambers Academy will not match up with Wadley or LaFayette during the regular season with both teams being in the AHSAA and the Rebels being in the AISA. Tuesday’s matchups were mostly about Allen learning about his team, but it also gave the team a chance to have fun matchups against schools right down the road. 

“It was really good, I enjoyed it,” Allen said. “The kids make friends and they talk and carry on. I thought it was really good between both schools, no hostility. Everybody competed and had a good time. I had a good time with it.”