Hawk men get break, women in WJCAC Pre-Conference tourney

LUBBOCK — At 10-1, not much should be bothering the Howard College men’s basketball team. But there is one underlying problem bothering the Hawks: depth.The Hawks have a break after their 107-46 win over Lubbock Christian Junior Varsity Thursday in Lubbock. They do not play until Dec. 31 in the Mesa Community College shootout. Right now, however, they are down to eight players after Will Bunton was suspended this week for breaking team rules. It’s been a recurring problem for the Hawks this year. They lost three players due to discipline issues before the season started, taking a shot at their depth to begin with.“Most coaches will tell you just going into games, to have eight or nine is an ideal number,” head coach Mark Adams said. “The biggest problem is practice, when you don’t have 10 and you’re trying to play 5-on-5. We don’t have the five guys who can work against our offense.”The Hawks do have Big Spring native Jason Walker on the team and if all goes well, he’ll be in the rotation in the second part of the season. That would give Howard College nine players on the roster. Maybe the rest is coming at a good time for the Hawks. The second part of the season includes the Mesa Community College shootout and conference play. The only loss for the Hawks came from Collin County Community College. For the most part, Corey Stern, Carlos Emory and Joe Bright have sparked the defending national champions.“It’s a good start for us,” Adams said. “I think out team made a lot of progress our first game. We feel good about our chances going into the conference race.” Howard womenThe Howard College women’s basketball team has been busy, too.The Hawks took care of Odessa College 80-74 in the first round of the WJCAC Pre-Conference Tournament in Midland. They face Midland College at 7:30 p.m. in Midland.The Hawk women have a little bit of adversity to overcome, too.Center Jackie Bartleson, who has been out with a knee injury, has been ruled out for the season. Twyla Ards, one of Howard College’s go-to players, has been hampered by a deep bruise in her arm.Nonetheless, the WJCAC Pre-Conference Tournament is an important gauge for Earl Diddle and his squad before they go on a month-long break.“It’s an important three games for us,” Diddle said. “It’s the end of the first semester. We’re looking forward to going over there and for the first time seeing everybody in the league.”