The Howe High School basketball teams will welcome the Smithville squads to the Howe Gym tonight for the season openers. The girls game will begin at 6:30 p.m., followed by the boys contest at approximately 8 p.m.
The Lady Lions were 27-3 last season, and lost in the Class 2A Area Tournament consolation finals to Amber-Pocasset to miss out on a trip to state.
The good news is they return many players from that team, but the not-so-good news is that all the starters from the 2011-12 team graduated. Thus, youth will be served, especially early on, for the Lady Lions.
“We will be a very young and inexperienced team,” said Chris Brown, Howe girls coach. “If we can work consistently in practice and can become more effective in the half-court offense, we should be playing better basketball by the second half of the season. I fully expect that four, and maybe even five, freshmen will play this season. There's definitely going to be a youth movement.”
The Lions were 17-10 last season, and got as far as the Class 2A Regional Tournament.
The Lions return two starters from last season's team.
“Our expectations are high for a good season,” said Shane Brown, Howe boys coach. “The team should continue to improve throughout the season. Overall, our depth, athleticism, size and team defense are our strengths, but we'll be inexperienced at the guard position. Some players will see their first action in varsity competition this year.”
Editor's note — As more teams begin their season AND coaches return their preseason questionnaires, more season preview stories will appear.