Battling tooth and nail without the services of at least three projected starters, the Longhorn boys basketball team gave the Round Valley Elks all the fight they could handle before falling 52-48.
First-year head coach Randy Wilcox said the efforts of his depleted team in Round Valley Nov. 24 gave him cause to believe the Horns could be a contender once reinforcements arrive from football.
Two starters from last year's basketball team, Hunter Walden and Ryan Lorentz, as well as top-flight reserve Marc Bennett and others were practicing last week with the football team in preparation for Saturday's state championship.
The football players could be in basketball uniform this evening, Tuesday when the Horns take to the Wilson Dome court at 7 p.m to host Camp Verde.
However, since they have not yet had any extensive practice their contributions to the team effort could be limited.
In the narrow loss to the Elks last week, returning veterans Josh McRae and Jeremy Reynolds tried to pick up the scoring slack created by the absence of the football players. Both tied for team scoring honors with 13 points apiece.
Reynolds was especially effective behind the 19-foot, 9-inch arc, hitting a trio of three pointers.
Sophomore Tyler Pettet tallied six points, Sterling White finished with five and Joe Sanchez contributed four.
Nick Brunson hit a trey, and Kaare Wagner and Chad Deschaff had two apiece.
The Horns, possibly with a full line-up, will travel to Winslow Dec. 3 to 5 where the team will participate in the Ames Ford Shoot Out tournament.
All important Central Division play, which eventually determines if PHS advances to state, will begin at 7 p.m. Dec. 8 at Cave Creek Cactus Shadows.