The basketball program at Port Allen is truly a family affair for three players on the team.
Nelson and Telson Allen, along with cousin Nigel Allen, are not strangers to PAHS basketball – and they’re certainly familiar with one another.
Nelson and Telson are brothers, while Nigel is a first cousin. The three have made their presence known on the Pelican roster.
“They know each other well from practicing in the neighborhood, and they’ve played together for years,” Port Allen coach Brandon Ricard said. “They have chemistry, and I think that can be said about our team overall.”
Ricard admits the last names can throw off coaches from time to time,
“What helps is that they all have different numbers – thank God – and they’re in different grades,” he said. “Even so, it can be confusing.”
The last name may be the only common factor in terms of playing style for the Allens, all veterans of hoop action.
All three cut their teeth on basketball before they started grade school.
Nigel – the youngest of the Allens – is getting his first taste of varsity basketball this year.
He started in biddy ball, and advanced to BREC and AAU leagues before coming aboard for the Pelicans as a freshman point guard. “It’s much more physical because you play with older players – it’s more pressure, too,” said Nigel, a 6-foot point guard.
He and Telson Allen played together at Port Allen Middle School.
“Quite often, we can read what the other one will do,” Telson Allen said. “When he or my brother is out there, we just connect.
“We have a great bond out there, and I like that our family is a part of this team,” he said. “Having Nigel on the team along with Nelson is almost like having two brothers on the team.”
Telson has already made his presence known as a 6-2 forward. His defining moment came Jan. 4 when he scored 21 points against Class 1A state champion Christian Life.
“It kind of surprised me,” he said. “I didn’t know I did that. I knew I was scoring points, but not that many.”
Telson admits it’s a much tougher environment for him.
“The hardest part of varsity has just been making the adjustment,” he said. “It’s much faster paced, but I love the momentum and anticipation, as well as the intensity and noise from the crowd.”
Nelson sees Nigel – younger brother of former Pelican standout Austin Allen — as much a brother figure as Telson. He can peg down the actions of both on the court.
“I can read them because we’ve played together so long,” he said. “A lot of times I know what they’re going to do before it happens.”
Nigel and Telson both heed the advice of the oldest Allen when away from the court.
“He’s been around this longer than we have, so we hardly ever disagree with him,” Telson said. “Nine times out of 10, he’s right.”
Nelson said he most often tells the two younger Allens to stay focused.
“I tell them before each game to play it like it’s their last game of the season,” he said. “I’m at a point now where I just want to teach them to do better.”
Nelson hopes he and the Pelicans can win the District 7-3A championship this season. He wants the younger Allens to understand the importance of living up to expectations.
“There’s some pressure with this because the students and community expect us to be good,” he said. “We have to live up to those expectations.”
They talk about basketball extends far past the gymnasium or school campus.
They discuss the games and practices fairly regularly at home. It’s particularly common among Nelson and Telson.
“We share the same bedroom at home, so we often find ourselves talking about the game and what we did right and what we did wrong,” Telson said.
Telson and Nigel both want to make the most of the time with Nelson before he graduates in May.
“When he leaves, I’ll definitely miss him,” Telson said. “It won’t be the same.”