Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Should be a good year in basketball

The old oblong-shaped ball has been put away for the season and it is now time to turn our attention to basketball.

This should be another great year of basketball in the county, even better than last year.

Overall, most of the county teams should be better, at least for the boys. Many of the better girls from last year are now gone and the battle for the top girls team is wide open. But more about that shortly.

For the boys, there is once again one big powerhouse in Talihina with FOUR starters back off last year’s team which made it to the state finals before losing to Pawnee by one point in overtime.

I expect the Tigers to be back in Oklahoma City again, but this time it isn’t Pawnee Talihina will have to be worried about. Perennial power OKC Millwood has dropped to 2A and will be the Tigers’ biggest challenger.

In the battle for county’s finest, Talihina (#2 in 2A) will have some competition. Poteau should be better, especially after two of its better players are back. Last year, I expected Poteau to battle Talihina for the county title but the Pirates could never get past Spiro, losing all three times to the Bulldogs.

Spiro will once again be good, as usual, featuring a team once again that has more speed than any other one in the county.

Heavener is expected to be better with Koda Glover, one of the better shooters in the county, along with a standout class of sophomores and a starting lineup that will have three players at least 6-3.

Wister, Cameron and Arkoma are also improved and have a shot at going deep in the county tournament. Pocola lost most of its team from last year, as did Panama. Whitesboro is better while LeFlore and Bokoshe have both struggled.

For the girls, there are no clear-cut favorites. Howe (#16 in 2A) is undefeated and has to be considered the favorite with its deep bench and inside power, but Heavener (17th in 3A) has three starters back from a team which almost made the state tournament.

The Lady Wolves feature one of the best players in the county in Skylar Cooper and enough returners to face up to any team in the county.

Poteau and Spiro will be improved with most of its team back and playing under new coaches. Taylor Martindale is apparently sitting out the season at Pocola, a definite setback to the young Lady Indians.

Panama lost some key players from last year, while among the small schools, Bokoshe is ranked in the top 10 and Whitesboro has only one loss, to top-ranked Red Oak and is 16th in Class B.

Wister and Talihina have most of its team back and should be greatly improved. Cameron, Arkoma and LeFlore have struggled so far, but all three teams should improve throughout the season.

The bigger schools are tipping off this week, so get ready for a long, but good season of basketball in the county

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