• 70°

All Metro Boys Coach of the Year: Spears leads ACCS to state semis

Adams County Christian’s head coach Richy Spears led the Rebels to 28 wins this season. (Ben Hillyer / The Natchez Democrat)

Adams County Christian’s head coach Richy Spears led the Rebels to 28 wins this season. (Ben Hillyer / The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — Richy Spears’ actions on the sidelines during an Adams County Christian School basketball game are exactly what he expects from his team on the floor — up-tempo and in your face.

And it is that coaching style that translated onto the court and propelled the Rebels to a 28-5 record and Spears to the 2015 All-Metro Coach of the Year.

After the Rebels reached the MAIS AA State Championship game in football, Spears had to quickly turn around and take the reigns of the basketball team. However, that transition proved easier than imagined.

“I knew from last year what we had coming in,” Spears said. “I was excited and everybody else was excited. This was a fun team. They really bought into my style of coaching, which is getting up and down the floor with as much pressure as possible.”

Spears, who is the defensive coordinator for the football team, said he preaches defense in basketball even more.

“Defense is my thing. We want to get up and defend, force steals and force our opponents to make mistakes so we can capitalize on them,” Spears said. “For the most part, we were able to do that this year.”

After capturing some wins early in the year, the Rebels went on a tear the rest of the year racking up multiple wins by 20-plus points.

“It was fun, but as a coach you are always looking for something to build on,” Spears said. “Even during that time, there were some things that we didn’t do well, and of course, I let them know. It is hard to keep a team focused and motivated when you are beating people by 20 and 30 points and not having to play four quarters. I always told them, it isn’t always going to be like that.”

But when Spears and the Rebels were tested, they answered the call, and it was a win against powerhouse University Academy that Spears said made him realize he had something special on his hands.

“I knew after the (University Academy) game, and that was halfway through January,” said Spears of spotting the budding success. “We played some good teams during Christmas break, came back and beat Brookhaven and then had (University Academy). They are really athletic and have been over the past couple of years, but we came out, were able to defend them and scored like we did. It made me think, ‘If we can do this, then we have a chance.’”

ACCS won the game 89-61, and the win set the tone for the rest of the year.

The Rebels went on to win the MAIS South State Tournament and then found themselves in the state tournament against a familiar foe, Simpson Academy, who they defeated a week earlier.

“I knew Simpson was going to try and do the same thing even more so than they did before, which was keep the ball out of the paint,” Spears said. “And they did.”

ACCS fell in the contest, 51-41, and Simpson went on to capture the state title.

But for Spears, who was in just his third year as coach of the Rebels, the season was a success.

“This was two years in the making,” he said. “This year, we had some kids with basketball sense and athleticism and they were able to make things happen. It was really fun.”

Although he will be losing some big names after graduation, Spears said he is going to continue to work his teams to the max, including next year’s bunch.

“I’ve got a couple of starters coming back and we do lose some key people,” he said. “But hopefully we can get some of these younger kids that didn’t play this past year that do have some size to come out and play. It is going to be hard, but we are going to work.”