Let's tip it off.
The 2019-20 hoop season is underway and we've witnessed some serious individual exploits already.
Southeast Texas is loaded with state contenders, so let's get to the rankings.
No. 1 Beaumont United
Coach David Green returns Justin Pleasant, Kasen Harrison and Jaylen Subject. These guys can ball and Green is one of the best in the state. The Timberwolves reached the third round last season before falling to George Ranch.
No. 2 Port Arthur Memorial
The Titans reached the Regional Semis. Don't forget PAM won the STATE title just two years ago. These guys are big and athletic, headlined by Kenneth Lofton (La Tech) and Nathan Clover (Oral Roberts). Amaree Abram will need to come up big as the lead guard.
No. 3 Silsbee
Coach Joe won back to back state titles in 2017 and 18. The Tigers reached the Regional Finals a year ago. Bray Bush can SCORE in bunches. He just broke the Silsbee single-game scoring record with 65 points early this season. K'Drain Cartwright and Christopher Martin Jr. will also play big roles. Can they get back to state? They have to get past Yates.
No. 4 East Chambers
The Bucs reached state last year before falling in the Semis. Coach Todd Sutherland has built a power program in southeast Texas. Kam Smith and Ernest Ceasar will be the headliners along I-10 this season.
No. 5 Nederland
The 'Dogs fell in the second round last season after a third place finish in district play. Can Texas A&M-signee Hayden Hefner lead this team to new heights? He can shoot, jump and run the point with the best of them. Coach Brian English will need Tyler Jackson and Joseph Gipson to step up big.
No. 6 Hardin Jefferson
Coach Clay Davis and his crew finished second in district a year ago before falling ot Yates in the second-round of the postseason. Nothing to be ashamed of there. Post Michael McIntosh and Jayston Davis will play post and forward, respectively. What about their guard play though?
No. 7 Huffman-Hargrave
Hargrave reached the third round of the postseason last year after running through district play. However, they were senior heavy. Guard Gage Hulse, a first-team, all-state selection has graduated. Now who is going to take the big shots? Returners include Jacob Harvey, last year's Offensive MVP, Luke Thomas, Cody Oliphant and Grey Soileau.
No. 8 Lumberton
The Raiders made the postseason for the first time in 19 seasons. Senior Jaden Wahl and Brock McClure return to give Lumberton a shot in getting to the playoffs in back-to-back seasons for the first time in school history. They finished third in district play a year ago.
No. 9 West Brook
The Bruins finished third in the district but fell in the first-round to Humble. The senior of the bunch is post Joseph Lucien. He will get help from Ike Nwaobi and Jaquan Yates, who will run the point.
No. 10 Orangefield
The Bobcats were third in district play last season and beat Diboll and Van Vleck in the postseason. Remington Bryant will run the point while Tyler Greenwood can play. Orangefield should reach the postseason again with hopes of making the leap to the Regional Tournament.
Others receiving votes: Buna, Big Sandy, Evadale
The Southeast Texas area is full of volleyball talent, which was on display at Ford Park in August.
Port Neches-Groves carries the baton for the area and reached the second-round of the postseason in 2018.
Huffman-Hargrave was the team that went the farthest in the region, going to the Class 4A Regional Semis. Hamshire-Fannett reached the quarters.
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