Howe teams seem to be early surprise on the hardwood

I know that we've only had two weeks of high school basketball, and that the football schools haven't started yet — but that changes this week as Bokoshe began Monday night at Clayton and Arkoma opens Thursday night at home with Cameron.Two teams — both from the same school — seem to be early favorites as strong squads in LeFlore County, the Howe Lions and Lady Lions.Shane Brown, Howe's boys coach, said back in the preseason that he thought his team could be a very special one. The Lions went to 3-0 on Friday night with an impressive road win over Wister — a very good team in its own right.With the fact that the Lady Lions lost so much due to graduation in May, Chris Brown, Howe's girls' coach, was not quite certain just how well his team would be. However, they, like the Lions, are 3-0 after a hard-fought win Friday night at Wister — in fact, the game may have been the first stiff test for the Lady Lions, and they passed. One thing that helps the Lady Lions is depth, which they have once again. Several of those players saw playing time last year because Howe's girls would win by big margins and the now-departed players would get a lot of rest. That's going to pay dividends this season for the Lady Lions.Mind you, teams that normally are strong haven't started the season yet — like Poteau, Heavener, Spiro and Talihina, all of which could have strong boys and/or girls teams this season. However, with that being said, it's clear the Lions and Lady Lions seemed to have clawed their way as strong teams in Class 2A — and teams to definitely look out for come LeFlore County Tournament time.ScheduleTuesdayWister at Cameron, 6:30 and 8 p.m.Kinta at Leflore, 6:30 and 8 p.m.Howe at McCurtain, 6:30 and 8 p.m.Whitesboro at Buffalo Valley, 6:30 and 8 p.m.ThursdayCameron at Arkoma, 6:30 and 8 p.m.Bokoshe at Leflore, 6:30 and 8 p.m.Red Oak at Whitesboro, 6:30 and 8 p.m.FridayGans at Cameron, 6:30 and 8 p.m.