Shelby Williams stares from one basket to the other, checks the fresh black paint and carefully, at every Brewbaker Tech coaches’ vigorous instruction, keeps her street shoes off the floor.
The Rams, long the gypsies of Montgomery high school basketball, venturing from site to site around the city and playing “home” games at 13 different sites over the years, have a place they can call their own.
“We finally have a real home,” said Williams, a senior guard on the girls team. “We’ve all wanted this for so many years.”
Brew Tech will unveil its $1.8 million, 750-seat on-campus gymnasium today when the girls team plays Ashford.
The Rams will have a second game Friday when the boys team plays Bullock County. Both are Class 4A subregionals and begin at 7 p.m.
“Everybody has waited a long time for this,” junior guard Steve Rogers said. “All of us are going to be proud when we get in there.”
Brew Tech basketball, despite being homeless since its 2003-04 season birth, has developed a considerable reputation.
The Rams have one state championship (2011 Class 4A girls) and one state runner-up finish (2010 Class 4A boys). This season, the teams are a combined 41-6 and making next week’s South Regional is an expectation, not a hope, for both.
But tonight — the 525th varsity game in Brew Tech history — will be the first on Brew Tech’s campus.
“We’ve always wanted a place we could call our own,” senior guard Khalil Carter said. “Playing home games somewhere else just isn’t the same.”
Brew Tech’s nomadic existence has created a long list of previous “home” sites, with Sidney Lanier being the most-used venue.
The others: G.W. Carver, Robert E. Lee, Jeff Davis, Alabama Christian, Montgomery Academy, St. James, Brewbaker Junior High, Capitol Heights Junior High, LAMP, AUM, Faulkner and Huntingdon.
Practice sites have been even more diverse with YMCAs and churches included.
“You name it, we’ve practiced there,” said Chauncey Shines, the only boys coach in Brew Tech history. “I tell you one thing, we have the Lord on our side. We’re in church more than anybody.”
Weather forced two extra delays this year.
One delayed the building’s final inspection and forced the Rams to host the Class 4A, Area 4 tournaments at Sidney Lanier. Late last week, a lightning surge knocked out computer chips in both scoreboards and the school scrambled for replacement parts.
Tonight, barring further calamity, the Rams will play their first true home game, and they expect a capacity crowd to witness it.
“It’s going to be the hypest atmosphere I’ve ever played in,” senior guard Lorenzo Moore said. “I know everybody is going to be there. It’s going to be exciting.”