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Shown above is the Rockingham Rage after they won the 2019 East Coast National Basketball Tournament championship that was held at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia on March 17. The Rage are hosting a prospective player’s event at the Reidsville Salvation Army court located at 704 Barnes Street on Aug. 8 beginning at 6 p.m. Shown from left are Caleb Pryor, Robert Williams, Jack Foye, Izak Mcpherson, head coach Andy Woodson, Rylan Knight, Edwin Stephens, Jeremiah Langston, Jaylin Kaylor, Jonah Newcomb and Micah Newcomb.

REIDSVILLE —After winning the 2019 East Coast Home School National Championship at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia on March 17, the Rockingham Rage basketball team is looking to fill the varsity ranks and continue on the upward trajectory after just two seasons in existence.

The Rage will be hosting a prospective player’s event at the Reidsville Salvation Army court located at 704 Barnes Street on Aug. 8 beginning at 6 p.m.

One of the Rage’s key organizers, Jeff Kaylor, said he hopes the success of last year’s program is going to attract potential varsity players, where the team is a little thin on numbers even though they did not have any seniors on the title squad.

“It’s a good opportunity for prospective guys to come out and meet the coaches, meet the players and see whether or not it’s a good fit for them or not. They will be able to see the skill level of our players and we’ll be able to see their skill level as well. There will be a lot of drills and there may be some pickup games on that particular night as well,” Kaylor said.

Last season, the No. 3 seeded Rage surprised a lot of people after knocking off the Syracuse Wolfpack, Loudon County Patriots and the Southeast Cardinals from Wilmington to clinch the title.

The Rage finished last regular season with a record of 11-16.

The under .500 regular season record may be a little deceptive in regards to the success the team experienced during the 2018-2019 campaign however.

“Early on last season we were kind of dealing with the injury bug early on. Our leading scorer broke his shoulder, then another kid had an ankle injury. The season was kind of up and down because of injuries as any team has when they encounter that, but once we got healthy, it built the kids confidence. They knew they could play at a higher level after playing against state competition where they were going against teams that had as much as three or four times their drawing power,” said Kaylor.

Last season the Rage often played home school programs with a lot bigger base of players to choose from. It’s very similar to a 1A program competing against a 4A in the NCHSAA Kaylor explained. In the playoffs however, teams were separated by size, so the playing field levels out in post season play.

Perhaps playing against bigger, and sometimes more talented teams during the regular season, paid dividends in the post season for the Rage when they came alive down the stretch during their championship run.

Home School Athletics Gaining Prominence

In the past players hoping to make the transition to the collegiate ranks, home school kids were often overlooked, but Kaylor said that is changing.

“Just because the kids are home schooled doesn’t mean that they don’t want to do things. When you get into the home school environment, you find out that there are a lot of opportunities. Getting the word out is the issue. There are home school teams in Burlington, Winston-Salem and Greensboro that offer baseball, football, basketball and swimming . . . really just about every sport at various levels from club to varsity. Kids that are really serious, and have the talent that are home schooled typically get recognized on the AAU circuit and that is happening more and more these days,” Kaylor said.

Perhaps just as important as providing athletic options for the kids is the bigger picture as Kaylor sees it, and that is part of the reason the Rage program was created.

“We are a Christian based organization. Our primary goal is to raise up young men that become productive people in our society and teach the lessons of life through basketball. We have high standards that we expect from our players.”

For prospective players that are unable to attend the Aug. 8 event, the team will host open workouts every Thursday at 6 p.m. through the summer.

The Rage are also hoping to attract some corporate sponsors as well for the 2019-2020 season. For more information on sponsorship opportunities or about the team requirements call Kaylor at 336-520-2338 or email rockinghamrage@gmail.com.

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Contact Jim Sands at 336-314-1058 or on Twitter @jimsandsRCN.  

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