Macon East boys rolling into post season
By Tim Gayle
CECIL – This weekend’s AISA Regional Tournament at Macon East Academy may look like window dressing for the Knights.
But don’t tell veteran coach Larry Chapman. This team has work to do if it is to win a state title in two weeks.
The Knights polished off Kingwood, 73-29, on Wednesday and advanced to the Class AA, Region 2 semis today against Restoration.
As Chapman, the former Auburn University Montgomery men’s basketball coach, guides his second group of Knights through the season, a group of returning veterans and an influx of transfers has transformed Macon East into one of AISA’s top teams.
The Knights (29-0) had three players in double figures in the win on Wednesday.
Chapman has built an impressive group that is led by a talented back court.
Transfer guards Tavis Billups (Carver) and Kyle Edwards (LAMP) are new but there was plenty of talent left over from last year’s team that reached the AA finals before losing to Edgewood.
Add seniors Slate Garmany and Christian Lewis in addition to Edwards and Billups “and all four of them can make shots,” Chapman noted.
Entering the post season, the Knights have gotten the message about self-improvement and not the competition.
“We have to improve everywhere – boxing out, rebounding,” Billups said. “We’re a smaller team so we’ve got to get our smaller guards involved in rebounding the ball, making easier passes and just continuing our defensive intensity.
“(The season) just gives you the opportunity to work on your plays, run your offense and get better as a whole, as a unit, and get our bench involved. Just do it all as one.”
Chapman likes that attitude. He tells the team offense is fun, but defense wins championships. An intense pressure defense is the heart and soul of every Macon East victory, creating plenty of shooting opportunities so that even if the players aren’t firing on all cylinders, they have enough to secure another victory.
“We do the same thing every game,” Chapman said. “We play the same way, same principles, same offense. They’re freed up to play on offense. Defense gives them the chance to play.”
The regional (boys and girls) continues Friday with boys and girls action. The finals are set for Saturday. All games will be played at Macon East.
The Elite Eight tourney opens Tuesday at the Cramton Bowl Multiplex.
AISA Region 1 Tournament
9 a.m.: Autauga Academy. vs. Lowndes Academy
12 p.m.: Coosa Valley at Macon-East
12 p.m.: Consolation game
6 p.m.: Championship game
10:30 a.m.: Autauga Academy. vs. Lowndes Academy
1:30 p.m.: Restoration at Macon-East
1:30 p.m.: Consolation game
7:30 p.m.: Championship game
3 p.m.: Eastwood vs Abbeville Christian
6 p.m.: Sparta Academy vs Evangel Christian
9 p.m.: Consolation game
3 p.m.: Championship game
4:30 p.m.: Evangel Christian vs Abbeville Christian
7:30 p.m.: Sparta vs East Memorial
10:30 a.m.: Consolation game
4:30 p.m.: Championship game