By ERIC VICCARO
The Bowie High School boys’ basketball team will be opening its season on one of the grandest stages of them all.
The Jackrabbits will play Krum at 1 p.m. on Wednesday in the American Airlines Center, the second time these teams have played each other there in the past three seasons.
Nocona opens the season on Tuesday at Petrolia, which features the talented Dane Williams.
Saint Jo embarks on its journey with a rare Monday tip-off versus Grayson County Christian, as part of a girls-boys doubleheader.
Forestburg finally played its first game of the season on Friday at Perrin-Whitt.
Gold-Burg, Bellevue and Prairie Valley all captured their first victories of the season on Tuesday with the Bears topping Bryson, Bellevue eclipsing Poolville and Prairie Valley knocking off Christ Academy of Wichita Falls.
Both the Gold-Burg and Prairie Valley teams are under youthful first-year head coaches with Michael Ball leading the Bears and Zac Tabor piloting the Bulldogs.
Ball came to Gold-Burg from Conference 2A basketball powerhouse Martin’s Mill, where he was an assistant. Tabor was a student assistant at Midwestern State University last season.
Four of The Bowie News coverage area schools made the playoffs a year ago, with the Jackrabbits advancing the farthest – falling to Dallas Faith 39-32 at Justin Northwest High.
Bowie needs to find scoring in the absence of graduates Chase Hall, Ezekiel Vaughan and Trace Hardee – plus the loss of Jeffery Howard due to injury.
It’s still unclear if Howard will be available for any portion of the season, and the Jackrabbit faithful are still holding out a chance.
Like Bowie, Nocona must also compensate for the loss of a co-district most valuable player as Kameron Hill has graduated and now plays for Austin College.
Nocona (22-11) will field a talented lineup nevertheless with Brenton Vineyard, Marcus Carter, Riley McCasland, Jose Ogeda and Cade Breeze. The Indians are guard heavy.
Bellevue will replace the scoring touch of Jakob Watkins, but judging by a Nov. 15 victory over Poolville, the Eagles will have plenty of options.
The starting lineup features athletic post Layne Morris, power forward Michael Hanson and guards Gabriel Garza and Dalton DeBose.
Brian Blank enters his third season guiding Saint Jo, coming off a tough year with a 5-21 overall record.
But there’s plenty of reason for hope in “The Jo” thanks to athletic players such as Blake Anderson, Preston Lyons and Bret Haney – all of whom are familiar with the coach’s up-tempo offense.
Lane Roof has developed into Prairie Valley’s primary scoring punch, and new coach Tabor is expected to lean on him heavily.
Tabor hopes to play an up-tempo style, attacking the basket, and employ a press defense.
The dean of boys’ basketball coaches in Montague County is 12-year veteran Steve Sandusky at Forestburg.
And he has another strong playoff contending group this season.
Anthony Rios is Gold-Burg’s version of Lane Roof, a player with definitive scoring abilities.
Rios will guide a Bears’ squad with a new coach in Ball and returning player Matthew Gilbert. Read more of this preview in the Nov. 19 Bowie News.
Bowie High School’s Keck Jones (22) dribbles upcourt during a Nov. 15 intrasquad scrimmage in the auxiliary gymnasium. The Jackrabbits open the season on Nov. 23 versus Krum at the American Airlines Center. (News photo by Eric Viccaro)