Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Remembering and looking forward

With the 79th LeFlore County Tournament over, it is time for some reflections and to look forward.

Another great tournament, as should be expected. Congratulations to the Heavener girls and Talihina boys the two-peat. Also, commendations are in order for the Howe girls and Poteau boys.

One of the memories I will remember from this tournament is the sad looks and misty eyes from several of the Howe girls after the finals Saturday night. It is awful hard to win two years in a row, but just as difficult to make the finals two years straight.

But with only one senior getting much playing time, look for Howe to be back again next year and win the 80th version of this tournament.

As for the boys’ winners for next year, you have to look at Poteau as the favorites. The Pirates will have most of their team back and Scott Nelke is building a heck of a program at a school which was down for a while.

A player who deserves a lot of credit is Cameron’s Ryan Carter. He suffered a broken nose in Monday’s first round against LeFlore in what some describe as a flagrant foul. I did not see what happened as it occurred just prior to my arrival.

But Carter came back the following night and played against Heavener, wearing a mask that was not quite Jasonish but awful close.

I have expressed my admiration for the new gym at Spiro before. It is the county’s best and if the LCT is held in the county, this is the best place to play. Spiro did a really good job hosting the tournament, but I have some problems with a school hosting the finals on its own court.

It isn’t really fair to the other team, of course. It should be played on a neutral court. Spiro did make it to the semis but both teams lost in overtime Friday night before winning the third-place games on Saturday.

A couple of areas that need to be addressed: All players playing in the tournament should get passes to all games and if a person pays at one site, they should be allowed to go to a game at another site without having to pay again.

Without the players, the tournament would not exist and we know the tournament makes a bunch of money for the host school, there would not be a tournament without the players.

I also found a written document at the media tournament Saturday night saying the county tournament needs format change. I have no idea who wrote the document or left it at the media table.

But the paper says the tournament should be broken into two tournaments with a large school and small school brackets with the winners of say the small-school girls playing the large-school girls in the finals and the same for the boys.

The large-school boys and girls would be Heavener, Spiro, Poteau, Panama, Talihina and Pocola. Small-school teams would be Howe, Bokoshe, Whitesboro, Wister, LeFlore, Cameron and Arkoma.

This is broken down correctly by enrollment, but Panama, Pocola, Talihina, Wister and Howe are all Class 2A schools this year.

The idea would feature championship games for the large schools and small schools on Friday with the winners of the Friday games playing Saturday for the overall championships.

There is some merit to the argument, of course. The writer pointed out that small-school Arkoma then would not have taken a 52-point loss from big-school Pocola.

That is true, but these things run in cycles. Arkoma’s girls are way down, but their eighth-grade team just won the county tournament earlier in the month. Plus, small-school Bokoshe opened the tournament by beating big-school Pocola.

One thing I have always liked about the tournament is you get to see schools play each other which typically do not play during the season. If the tournament is broken down to two divisions, you will see a bunch of teams playing teams they play during the regular season.

So I don’t see this happening, or at least hope this does not happen. If something isn’t broke, which the LCT isn’t, then there does not need to be any changes

Monday, January 17, 2011

Predicting the 2011 LCT

It’s time to button up the hatches and lock up the kiddos.

The annual LeFlore County Tournament starts Monday with all 13 county high schools competing.

Games will be held at Spiro, Heavener and Panama before all contests shift to Spiro for Thursday games through the finals.

As always, there will be excitement and despair.

I will get to the boys shortly, but for the girls, Heavener is the defending champions and the top seeds for the tournament. The Lady Wolves and Howe are the favorites to advance to Saturday’s finals by just about everybody.

Both teams have one loss with Heavener losing to 2A power Oktaha in a game Skylar Cooper was injured in and missed most of the game. Howe lost to Arkansas power County Line in the Arkoma tournament.

Heavener and Howe both return several key players from last year. Both those teams and Spiro get a bye in the first round. Here are my predictions on the tournament.


(13) Arkoma vs. (4) Talihina. Talihina in a big way unless Arkoma’s eighth graders play. Arkoma has barely fielded a team lately and Talihina is much improved over last year. TALIHINA 48, ARKOMA 22.

(5) Bokoshe vs. (12) Pocola—Bokoshe should win this game, but I do not think it will be as lopsided as the seeds suggest. BOKOSHE 39, POCOLA 32.

(8) Poteau vs. (9) Panama—Poteau has already defeated Panama once this season, at Panama so the Lady Pirates should win. That game was close in the first half before Poteau pulled away. POTEAU 41, PANAMA 30.

(6) Wister vs. (11) Cameron—Two teams have played twice this season with Wister winning both games. The Lady Wildcats should make it a hat trick here. WISTER 51, CAMERON 26.

(7) Whitesboro vs. (10) LeFlore—Whitesboro could have been seeded higher. LeFlore is struggling and Whitesboro should advance without much problem. WHITESBORO 41, LeFLORE 24.


(1) Heavener vs. (8) Poteau—Heavener beat Poteau bad to start the season but the Lady Pirates are improving. Game is played at Heavener so the Lady Wolves should win but it could be much closer than a lot of people expect. HEAVENER 44, POTEAU 36.

(4) Talihina vs. (5) Bokoshe—Will be an interesting game but the Lady Tigers should advance. TALIHINA 38, BOKOSHE 32.

(3) Spiro vs. (6) Wister—If there is going to be an upset early in the tournament, this could be it. Both teams are better than last year and Spiro was seeded higher than many expected. Game is played at Spiro so the Lady Bulldogs should advance. SPIRO 46, WISTER 41.

(7) Whitesboro vs. (2) Howe—With its record, Whitesboro could have had a much better seed. This is where it hurts the Lady Bulldogs as they run into Howe in the second round. Whitesboro is good but Howe is better. HOWE 51, WHITESBORO 38.


(1) Heavener vs. (4) Talihina—The two teams played last week at Talihina and Heavener won fairly easy. Heavener moves into the finals. HEAVENER 42, TALIHINA 34.

(2) Howe vs. (3) Spiro—Biggest advantage for Spiro is playing at home. Could make the game closer than it would otherwise. HOWE 48, SPIRO 40.


(1) Heavener vs. (2) Howe—This one is a tossup. Last year, Heavener won fairly easy. This time, it should be much closer with the Lady Wolves winning a tight one. HEAVENER 41, HOWE 38.


In the boys’ side of the bracket, Talihina is the overwhelming favorite after winning the tournament last year and finishing second in state the last two years.

Kind of a bad deal as on most years, Heavener, Poteau and Spiro could easily be county champions. Among the smaller schools, Cameron has the best shot at making a run in the tournament although the Yellow Jackets will probably play Heavener at Heavener in the second round.
Here are my predictions for the boys


(8) Arkoma vs. (9) Howe—Arkoma won at Howe this week. Howe’s leading scorer, Jared Brown has a hurt ankle and could be slowed. Arkoma advances. ARKOMA 48, HOWE 35.

(5) Cameron) vs. (12) LeFlore—Cameron fairly easy. CAMERON 58, LeFLORE 34.

(13) Bokoshe vs. (4) Heavener—Heavener easy in a game against the winless Tigers. HEAVENER 60, BOKOSHE 30.

(6) Panama vs. (11) Pocola—Two old and bitter rivals. Panama advances over the young Indians. PANAMA 38, POCOLA 30.

(7) Wister vs. (10) Whitesboro—Probably the best first-round game. Wister wins but Whitesboro should stay close. WISTER 52, WHITESBORO 41.


(1) Talihina vs. (8) Arkoma—Arkoma has some talent and good athletes but Talihina is too good and experienced. TALIHINA 64, ARKOMA 38.

(4) Heavener vs. (5) Cameron—Best game of the second round. Cameron is a very good team, but has to play the Wolves at Heavener. Heavener advances. HEAVENER 78, CAMERON 69.

(3) Spiro vs. (6) Panama—Panama can stay close for a while but Spiro should be too good for the Razorbacks. SPIRO 50, PANAMA 36.

(7) Wister vs. (2) Poteau—Wister could cause some problems for Poteau, but the Pirates have too much depth, size and talent. POTEAU 66, WISTER 54.


(1) Talihina vs. (4) Heavener-- Heavener was only down by three at halftime last week at Talihina and had a big lead early in last year’s semifinals between the two teams before Brandon Kirkland was hurt. If Heavener is hot and gets some inside scoring, the Wolves could stay close. But Talihina advances. TALIHINA 74, HEAVENER 61.

(2) Poteau vs. (3) Spiro—Spiro has won the last four times these teams have met, including earlier this year at Spiro. But in that game, Poteau played without three starters: Wilson Klutts, Josh Ross and Derek Blake. Plus, the Pirates led late before Spiro rallied. Finally, Poteau wins, even though the game is at Spiro. POTEAU 58, SPIRO 53.


(1) Talihina vs. (3) Poteau—I believe Poteau is the only team in the county that could knock off Talihina. The Pirates have the size and guards to face Talihina’s pressure. Poteau is used to playing good teams, but so is Talihina. TALIHINA 65, POTEAU 54.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Rethink possible...or AT&T

In case you missed it, which you probably did, I moved into the smart phone realm in November.

I had wanted one for a long time. I could talk, text, get on the internet, play games and oh so much more.

Previously, I was with Verizon. But I could get on a plan with my wife on AT&T for a lot cheaper even though I had some worries about AT&T because I heard the customer service was el stinko.

So I researched the heck out of the smart phones and it got to the point where I had brain freeze. The choices were too much. Several of my friends had the iPhone (which in case you have been hidden out in a cave or got struck by the vaunted Poteau Mountain meteor, is now available through Verizon).

I decided to go with the iPhone3, the later version but not the iPhone4 to try and save bucks. That was when I ran into problems. I could have actually bought one at an AT&T store in Fort Smith but the sales person was a tad bit pushy and tried to sell me every known apparatus that would work with the phone.

I am not big on pushy sales people and decided to go somewhere else. Nobody else had them in stock. Drats. So my contract with Verizon was finally over and I could get a new phone!

Since I could not get the iPhone 3, I finally decided to go with a Windows phone, a LG Optima. It seemed fairly easy to operate and despite the outrageous cost, I took the plunge.

I played with the phone fairly often for the first couple of days and loaded up some apps. One of the main reasons I wanted a “smart” phone was so I could get on the internet and update the Journal’s Facebook page.

The first game I went to was at Wister. I quickly figured out that public schools were not exactly cool with people using their wireless connection to get on Facebook. I thought that might just be Wister. Uh, wrong. Plus the service in most gyms is not good, which never seemed to be a problem with Verizon.

I did sign up so that I could text in updates to Facebook for the Journal, which is apparently the only advantage to going with AT&T instead of Verizon.

Also, I quickly figured out that I mainly used the phone for talking and texting, which is what I did with my old phone. I tried to watch a movie on the phone once and although this phone is twice the size (and weight) of my old one, the screen isn’t big enough for my aging eyes and I got a headache.

None of the apps really interested me, aside from the weather one. Prior to getting the phone, I was a little disturbed that I could not have unlimited internet. Now I realized that the $25 option was even more than I use. If I was going to use the internet, I could always use the one at home.

But then, problems hit. Seriously. The phone’s battery, which I had no problem with for the first month and a half, started dying by late afternoon. Each day, it died earlier.

I went by the store where I bought the phone at lunch. I saw the phone I purchased for $200 less than two months ago was now $99. Argh. They couldn’t help me because I did not have the last four numbers of the wife’s social security number.

I came back to the store a couple of days later packing those vital four numbers. It took most of my lunch hour and nothing was accomplished. The next day, I called customer service for AT&T.

I talked to one person I could barely understand for some 20 minutes and he finally decided that I needed a new battery. Really? You think?

He transferred me to the warranty division. After talking to another customer service rep for at least 10 minutes, she decided I needed a new battery also. Great. You can’t slip anything by these people.

But…she said they did not have any batteries in stock. She called LG and several minutes later, came back on the line and said I would need to send in the battery so they can look it over.

Okay, but there was one fairly large problem. I told her that wouldn’t work. “Why?” she asked. I wouldn’t have a phone. She asked if I had a spare AT&T phone to use. Sure, I keep one in my back pocket just for emergencies. I told her no and they either needed to get me a new battery or a new phone.

She couldn’t do that and finally (to get rid of me), said I would need to go to the store where I purchased the phone to get a new battery. Great idea! When I went there before as you may recall, they called customer service and took up my whole lunch hour and couldn’t get anything done.

But I tried again. I was informed by a rep at the store that I would have to get the problem taken care of by calling AT&T. You know, the same company which said the store would have to solve my problem.

Now the battery is dying at approximately 2 p.m. after a full charge. Maybe it is time to call AT&T and get the runaround from somebody who barely speaks English again. AT&T's slogan is "Rethink possible". Maybe it should say "Rethink going with AT&T".

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Heads up!

As if we don’t have enough to worry about…
This morning, I am dreading the thought of going outside to get my newspaper, assuming it was delivered.

There is the Arctic temperatures to deal with and some dreaded “black ice” might be lurking around to try and send my body to the ground in a hurtful way.

Now, we have to worry about falling objects landing on our noggin?

According to news reports a meteor landed near Poteau Mountain last night! Honest! Here is a link to the story on CBS News!

Egad! Reports say the meteor was seen all the way to the Florida coast. The firey ball was plainly seen throughout the area and even captured the attention of a Little Rock television station. Gosh, strange news, huh? Kinda like the Poteau Daily News' lovefest for AES, you ask? Not that strange.

Great! Now, in addition to watching out for black ice, I have to keep my eye out for meteors. One so-called expert said the meteor was about the size of a pebble.

Hmm, a pebble? How can people hundreds of miles away see a flaming pebble descending through the sky?

The expert also said since the meteor was green (?), it was probably filled with copper. Hear that copper thieves around here? Don’t steal any more copper from air conditioners! Just go find the meteor and you can get your copper fill.

Oh yeah, it was only the size of a pebble. Never mind. But I do feel like we should undertake a massive manhunt for the pebble. We can park the meteor at the Runestone State Park and bring in tourists to see a rock with Viking writing on it and a meteor!

Wow. I shiver in excitement. Heck, that might bring in enough tourists and money we could have some kind of lift so the old folks don’t wheeze and tire out on the walk back up the hill.

Hopefully we can get witnesses to verify the claim and point searchers in the right direction. Maybe one of our numerous wildlife cameras stationed out in the boonies actually took a picture of the meteor.

I wonder what kind of noise a pebble-sized meteor makes as it comes to the ground? Is it quiet? I imagine it making a noise like somebody with greasy gas pains.

Also, what is the proper etiquette if one sees a meteor headed toward another person? In golf, one shouts “fore!” if a golf ball is headed toward somebody. But what if it is a meteor? I just don’t see “fore!” doing the job and you can’t say, “Pardon me! But I believe a meteor is about to put a dent in your bohunkus!” I guess “Oh #%$^!” would be the appropriate wordage.

So…all of you can begin the meteor hunt. You know, right now! I will await word of this great undertaking while trying to get up the courage to bring in my paper.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Future looks bright for county basketball

The future looks bright for LeFlore County basketball if the junior high county tournament is any indication.
Arkoma’s girls and Talihina’s boys won the county tournament with wins over Spiro in the finals Saturday night.
Arkoma, which has struggled at the varsity level over the last few years, has an eighth-grade class that could change that.

The Lady Mustangs are a machine, improving to 14-0 with the win over Spiro and Carleigha Thompson, one of the best eighth-grade players the county has produced.

Arkoma’s first five is solid, well coached and a team that could make a run at the high school LCT if the girls stay together. Kira Shepard was the MVP for Arkoma and stood out in the finals, although she had a lot of help from her talented teammates.

For the boys, it was another example of a team playing together to win over a Spiro team which featured its own version of twin towers in McKinley Whitfield and T.J. Mayes, who both towered over players from other county teams.

The Bulldogs also had a talented guard in Bobo Davis, who scored 24 points in the win over Wister in the semifinals.

But in the finals, Talihina played excellent defense, used balance scoring and got clutch shooting from Alan Lockhart and Zach Baugh to beat the talented Bulldogs.

Lockhart, the younger brother of Talihina standout Taggart Lockhart, was named the tournament MVP and hit the go-ahead three-point basket. But the difference was the team play from the Tigers, who kept their composure and never let Spiro’s pressure push them out of their game.

Poteau also showed the makings of a good team as the Raiders have a standout seventh-grade class that helped them capture third place. Wister, which only started one eighth grader, also shows the makings of a good team with the four seventh-grade starters.

A lot can change between now and four years down the road, but if the players and teams stay together and continue to improve, hopefully these teams will go deep in the county tournament.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The JH LCT and ugh

Alas, this is a multi-topic blog so please forgive me for my ADT today, or whatever it is called.

First off, the junior high LCT basketball tournament is being held this week at several different locations. Here is the link to the brackets.

The junior high (actually 8th grade tournament) is awesome, in case you have not experienced it. No, it does not get the attention the actual LCT gets, but if you can, check it out. The tournament draws big crowds and the semifinals and finals later this week will draw huge crowds at CASC.

Last year was the first time I watched or covered the event and found it just as fun and almost as exciting as the LCT. I will remember Poteau’s Gabe Neal scoring his first basket probably longer than I will the play in the LCT and wrote a blog about the night.

I just wish we had something like this back when I was playing eighth grade basketball for the might Wolves. We were actually good that year and only lost one game to Doug Stone and Poteau in the semifinals of a tournament at Hodgens. We kind of went down after that, however.

So if you get a chance, go see the tournament. You won’t regret it.


Now for the second part of this blog and I apologize if this offends anybody as it is not related to the Journal in any way, shape or form.

This was my last post on my Facebook page on 12-13-2010: I would like to thank everybody for their requests to play farmville, frontierville and takeapoopville, but I do not have the time or interest so please stop with the invitations. Thanks.

I was not trying to be mean or clever, just letting people know that I don’t have the time or want to play all these silly games. If you want to play them, knock yourself out. Just don’t invite me because I will ignore the request and eventually block the app.

But sadly, that did not help. I had seven likes on the topic including comments! Wow! But this morning, I ventured over to my Facebook page and saw I had invites for the following games: Family Feud, ESPN the University, Family Life and…Sorority Life?

Somebody actually thought I would like to play Sorority Life? Egads. So I took a few minutes and tried to block the suckers. This is the comment Facebook responds with when one tries to block the app: Blocking (insert name of stupid game) will prevent others from sending you invitations (YES!) and requests for this app and will prevent the app from getting info about you (GREAT!).

And that is bad? I saw Facebook is now worth over $50 billion. Surely it isn’t from all these stupid games like Millionnaire City, which draws 12.3 million people a day, Happy Pets (I am not making this up) which somehow wastes the time of 5.9 million people a day or Monster World, another 5.5 million.

Just think, if all the people would get together and focus on economic recovery, we would no longer be in a recession. Or…maybe not.