Tom Brown inherited the Houston boys’ basketball team under less than ideal circumstances. But despite arriving in Texas County a week before the beginning of practices and being alongside his team for just 21 days, he says the transition hasn’t been as difficult as perceived.

“The kids have made it easy on me,” said Brown, who was hired shortly after former coach Dustin Kirkman resigned Oct. 10. “They don’t say, ‘Well, this is the way we used to do it.’ They’ve jumped right in and worked hard. It’s almost like I’ve had them for a year.”

Brown, who spent the previous nine years at Meadow Heights High School in southeast Missouri, praised his players’ attitudes during the first three weeks of practices. They are an important ingredient to installing his style of play.

Brown’s teams have always played fast. He says the Tigers will do the same. He says to expect lots of 3-pointers and fullcourt pressure in the form of 1-2-2 and 2-1-1 traps as well as man-to-man.

He says it may not always be pretty — Brown warns fans that his team may give up layups as times during the course of a game — but his “goal is to wear teams down and the fourth quarter be ours.”

“We press to make teams play fast, not to steal the ball,” Brown said. “That’s the point I’m trying to get across. When you do things fast, you make mistakes.”

The bulk of last year’s team that managed three wins is back. Curry Van Horn returns at point guard and will be flanked by sophomores Devin Coulter and Aaron Cantrell. The duo started as freshmen under Kirkman.

Weston Walker, who is also the backup point guard, will play a combination of guard and forward. Seniors Jacob Kelley and Rodney Preheim will see minutes on the interior.

Clay Ashworth and Colten Huff will provide backcourt depth. Jacob Hall will come off the bench as a forward.

Two freshmen, Devin Garrett and Kolby Walker, will dress for the Mansfield Tournament in two weeks but still see a majority of minutes with the junior varsity, Brown said. Marcus Beezley and Kodey Campbell will join the roster at the semester.

Brown expects his team to flourish offensively. He says he has six consistent offensive scorers. He said the team will need to improve defensively.

Houston, which hosts Mansfield on Tuesday in the season opener, last won a district title in 1984. Brown hopes to begin taking steps to bring another championship to HHS.

“We could possible be over .500 this year,” Brown said. “I don’t want to say that without knowing the competition, but I believe their heart and spirit is in that. I really believe they are ready.”

Nov. 29 Mansfield

Dec. 5 Mansfield Tournament

Dec. 12 Norwood JV Tourn.

Dec. 16 Plato

Dec. 19 at Alton

Dec. 26 Cabool Holiday Tourn.

Jan. 12 Summersville

Jan. 13 Willow Springs

Jan. 16 Liberty Tournament

Jan. 24 at Licking

Jan. 27 Hartville

Jan. 30 Licking JV Tournament

Jan. 31 Salem

Feb. 3 at Mountain Grove

Feb. 7 at Thayer

Feb. 10 at MV-Liberty

Feb. 14 at Cabool

Feb. 17 Ava

Feb. 21 at Seymour

Feb. 23 at Stoutland

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