Howard men in Denison, women face LCU JV

Things are toughening up or the Howard College men’s basketball team and head coach Mark Adams wouldn’t have it any other way.The Hawks are on the road against Collin County Community College at 5:30 p.m. today and Grayson County College at 3 p.m. Saturday in Denison.The main challenge here? Playing Collin County and not having ample time to prepare for Grayson County. The Hawks have done this before, with Friday and Saturday games in Weatherford and Midland the last two weekends. This time it’s different though, both teams are tougher.“We have two difficult games to get ready for Friday at 5:30, then we turn around and play that early afternoon Saturday,” Adams said. So we have less than 24 hours to get ready for that second one.”Historically, Collin County is a top team in the Northern Conference in Region 5 and it’s a team full of great shooters, which particularly worries Adams.He said Collin County is liable to put up 30 3-point shot attempts, so guarding the perimeter shooters is key in this matchup.A lot of practice time this week has been dedicated toward taking away Collin County’s strength. Conference play is still a little over a month away, but Adams and the Hawks are welcoming any and every test with teams such as No. 1 Midland College on tap. “The Weatherford tournament did prepare us for the Midland and the Midland better prepared us for this one,” he said. “Each week, I think, it’s getting a little tougher. Next week against (Moberly Community College), it’ll be by far our best competition. We planned that in our schedule. “We just hope that we’re ready. We certainly need to do this to get ready for what everyone is labeling as the toughest conference in the country.”Howard womenNo. 18 in the nation doesn’t excite Howard College women’s basketball coach Earl Diddle. Being the best defense in the country, statistically — that puts a smile on the coach’s face.“We’re pretty defensive-oriented,” Diddle said. “I think any good team starts on that side of the ball, whether you’re NFL or NBA. You start there. But your defense does make your offense. We’ve just got to do a better job rebounding the ball. We’ve got some areas in our game that we need to shore up. Hopefully by the time conference season comes around, we’ll be ready to go.”The Hawks allow 42 points per game and score 88 per game, making them third in scoring in the nation.Howard College is on the road for a rematch against Lubbock Christian JV at 5:30 p.m. today in Lubbock. The Hawks return home against College of the Southwest JV at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at the Dorothy Garrett Coliseum. The Hawks have a few issues, however.Jackie Bartleson, who is expected to be a huge contributor this season, is out with a knee injury and there is no exact timetable for her return.