Allen to crank pace for Demopolis High basketball

The Demopolis High School basketball team will have a new look this season under first-year head coach Ashley Allen.

“I think he’s going to have good discipline and have a good, up-tempo style that I think will fit our kids and just sort of breathe new life,” Demopolis High athletic director said of Allen. “He’s part of the change and change is not a bad thing. He’s excited to have a chance to build this program.”

Allen takes over the reins of the Demopolis program after two years as the junior varsity coach at Wilcox Central. A Thomasville native who played football under Luker during his THS days, Allen began his coaching career at St. Jude in 2006 before moving to the Leeds program after three seasons.

At Leeds, Allen coached both the boys and girls programs.

“We turned the programs around. The guys were coming off a championship the prior year with no returners and we came back and went back to regional finals that second year,” Allen said. “With the girls, they didn’t have a winning record until I got there. My first year there, we were 25-3. Second year there, we were 24-5. Last year, we were 17-11. That was all freshmen that last year.”

Allen continued that winning tradition at Wilcox where his JV teams lost a total of five games in two seasons.

During his time with Wilcox, Allen became familiar with the Demopolis program that he now calls home.

“I saw a lot of good kids. That’s my thing, working with good kids, trying to make some outstanding citizens later on in life. I always tell them it’s bigger than basketball. Basketball is just what we use to become better men,” Allen said. “Then, also, they’re already fundamentally sound. They were well coached by (former DHS head coach Rodney) Jackson. They’re very fundamental.”

Allen will attempt to build on those fundamentals by cranking up the tempo with the Tigers next season as he favors a press-heavy, transition style of basketball.

“My style is a little different than Coach Jackson. We’re going to be up and down the court this year. I love defense. We’re going to try to score a lot of points on defense this year. We’re definitely going to pick up the speed of basketball this year,” Allen said. “A lot more pressing on the ball, putting pressure everywhere, trying to get easy baskets. We’ll definitely have a well-developed motion offense as well.”

Allen will employ his chosen brand of basketball in an area full of heavyweight programs Dallas County, Sumter Central and Wilcox Central.

“The good thing about it is that I played against Jasmine over in Sumter. I coached along with Coach Dukes. And I know the Dallas County coach. I’m very familiar with those guys. What will help us is that I know their coaching styles,” Allen said. “I’ve been paying attention to all the teams that we’re playing against in that area. I feel like their talent is going down and ours is going up. I look forward to playing in that area and, hopefully, placing in the area so we can make an establishment here in Demopolis basketball.”