TEXARKANA -- Two local boys teams will have new head coaches for the upcoming season.
Billy Brewer takes over the Liberty-Eylau team and Craig Collvins returns as Pleasant Grove's head coach.
Sam Weaver and Jacob Skinner return to their posts at Arkansas High and Texas High, respectively. The Tigers begin their season Wednesday.
The Razorbacks have only a few varsity lettermen and one starter back from last year's 14-12 team.
"In our scrimmage, the kids looked very unsure of themselves; we still need to do some growing," Weaver said. "We played a very experienced Bradley team, and we didn't look very good against them."
Mason Cornelius is the lone starter back for Arkansas High, which hosts New Boston today to begin the season.
"Mason has provided some leadership for us. It's a rebuilding situation, and we've got to learn how to do things right," Weaver said. "It's just going to take some time to get experience under our belts and get up to game speed."
Chris Watson and Dennis Franks saw limited varsity play and significant junior varsity time last winter.
"We've got some pieces here and there, and we've got some talented young guys just without experience," the coach said. "We'll have to let it develop; it's a process. We've always hung our hats on our press, and turning teams over.
"We don't shoot the ball extremely well, and we'll rely heavily on our press to get in transition quickly, generating offense that way. We'll work on getting better in our zone (defense), as well."
Rebounding will be another key for the Razorbacks.
"We've got to do a better job of rebounding," Weaver said. "We won 14 games last year, and there were about five games that our inability to rebound cost us the game. If we rebounded the ball better, we probably would've been a state tournament team and won closer to 20 games.
"We're going to stress the importance of rebounding to this group. We've got a good group of young men, with high character. They were very disappointed in the way they performed, and they play with a lot of pride. I like that about this group."
Out of the 11 players on the Hawks' roster, seven are seniors. Pleasant Grove's roster will change once the football season concludes with more players from football joining the team.
Cohen Cade, Zavaray Carter, Kason Wright, Kennon Kelley, Whitt Lawrence, Evidence Ezhie and Martin Haley are the seven seniors. Rounding out the roster are junior Dawson Anderson along with sophomores Jordan Mitchell, Brenton Clark and Rip Thomas.
"We want to compete for a district championship," Collvins said. "It's not the ultimate goal. More importantly, we want to make the playoffs and go as far as we can."
The Hawks scrimmaged El Dorado last week.
"I thought we ran the floor really well," Collvins said. "We're guard-heavy this year and don't have as many post players. I thought our defense looked pretty good. Our man-to-man defense looked pretty good and I would like to expand on our defenses once we get our lungs under us. Our biggest strengths will be our transition and trying to run the break as often as possible.
"The thing that kinda worries me is that we only have three guys that can play post. I am always worried about rebounding because we are so guard-heavy. We need to make sure we get offensive and defensive boards."
Pleasant Grove plays at Redwater today at 6 p.m. The Hawks will host Henderson on Friday at 6 p.m. at Hawk Gym.
"We lost a lot of kids from last year's team," Collvins said. "We have some seniors who are role players. In practice, they have taken ownership of how things run. The culture is where it needs to be. I think it will pay off for us. A team needs culture before the X's and O's. I have been impressed with our seniors from top to bottom; and all of the other kids too."
Veteran Coach Brewer enters his first year as the Leopards' head coach. Liberty-Eylau will focus on teamwork and getting after it.
"Our motto is that we are going to get after it," Brewer said. "We are going to play smart basketball get after people. We are very athletic and have a good group of seniors and juniors. We have a lot of players coming back from last year. The district will be competitive. The guys were third last season and they are hungry to win.
"The guys have a great knowledge of the game. Each one of the players has a quality and can make each other better. I didn't coach them last year, but I saw them play last year."
JJ Hampton will be the general at point guard. Chris Lewis and Jaykwon Roberts are two of the Leopards' sharp shooters. Tracy Revels will also get a lot of playing time.
"We will be ready to come out and play," Brewer said. "We will work on our team unity, attitude and adjustments in the game. I want them to believe in each other and believe as one. I am going to be stressing that to them. I want them to be more competitive. We don't have much height but the guys are going to work hard. It is going to be an exciting year for Liberty-Eylau basketball."
Carlos Simmons and Tra Carson are Brewer's assistant coaches. Carson played basketball for the Leopards.
"I think L-E will have a great year this year," Brewer said.
2021-22 Boys Basketball Schedules
Nov. 16=New Boston=5 p.m.
Nov. 22=Magnolia=5 p.m.
Nov. 30=at LR Christian=5 p.m.
Dec. 9-11=Gunslinger Tournament=TBA
Dec. 17=at Camden Fairview=5 p.m.
Dec. 28-30=Idabel Tournament=TBA
Jan. 4=at Pleasant Grove=5 p.m.
Jan. 7=x-White Hall=5 p.m.
Jan. 11=x-at Hot Springs=5 p.m.
Jan. 14=x-Sheridan=5 p.m.
Jan. 18=x-at El Dorado=5 p.m.
Jan. 21=x-Lakeside=5 p.m.
Jan. 25=x-at Lake Hamilton=5 p.m.
Jan. 28=x-at Pine Bluff=5 p.m.
Feb. 1=x-at White Hall=5 p.m.
Feb. 4=x-Hot Springs=5 p.m.
Feb. 8=x-at Sheridan=5 p.m.
Feb. 11=x-El Dorado=5 p.m.
Feb. 15=x-at Lakeside=5 p.m.
Feb. 18=x-Lake Hamilton=5 p.m.
Feb. 22=x-Pine Bluff=5 p.m.
x-Conference 6A/5A-South games.
Nov. 16=at Redwater=6 p.m.
Nov. 19=Henderson=7 p.m.
Nov. 22=Jefferson=12:30 p.m.
Nov. 23=at New Boston=6:15 p.m.
Dec. 2=at White Oak Tournament=TBA
Dec. 7=Atlanta=6:15 p.m.
Dec. 9=at New Boston Tournament=TBA
Dec. 13=at Marshall=7:15 p.m.
Dec. 17=at Mount Pleasant Chapel Hill=7 p.m.
Dec. 21=at Trinity=2:15 p.m.
Dec. 29=Center=4:15 p.m.
Jan. 4=at Arkansas High=7:15 p.m.
Jan. 7=Carthage=7:15 p.m.
Jan. 11=x-Liberty-Eylau=7:15 p.m.
Jan. 14=x-at North Lamar=7:15 p.m.
Jan. 18=x-Gilmer=7:15 p.m.
Jan. 21=x-at Paris=7:15 p.m.
Jan. 25=x-at Pittsburg=7:15 p.m.
Jan. 28=x-at Liberty-Eylau=7:15 p.m.
Feb. 1=x-North Lamar=7:15 p.m.
Feb. 4=x-at Gilmer=7:15 p.m.
Feb. 8=x-Paris=7:15 p.m.
Feb. 11=x-Pittsburg=7:15 p.m.
x-District 15-4A games.
Nov. 19=at Winnsboro=10 a.m.
Nov. 22=Paris Chisum=12:30 p.m.
Nov. 23=Clarksville=2 p.m.
Nov. 26-27=at Clarksville Classic Tournament=TBA
Dec. 2-4=at White Oak Tournament=TBA
Dec. 7=Idabel=4:30 p.m.
Dec. 9-11=at New Boston Tournament=TBA
Dec. 14=at Atlanta=5 p.m.
Dec. 28-30=at Idabel Tournament=TBA
Jan. 4=Carthage=5 p.m.
Jan. 7=Redwater=6 p.m.
Jan. 11=x-at Pleasant Grove=7:15 p.m.
Jan. 14=x-Paris=7:15 p.m.
Jan. 18=x-Pittsburg=7:15 p.m.
Jan. 21=x-Gilmer=7:15 p.m.
Jan. 25=x-at North Lamar=7:15 p.m.
Jan. 28=x-Pleasant Grove=7:15 p.m.
Feb. 1=x-at Paris=7:15 p.m.
Feb. 4=x-at Pittsburg=7:15 p.m.
Feb. 8=x-at Gilmer=7:15 p.m.
Feb. 11=x-North Lamar=7:15 p.m.
x-District 15-4A games.