In their respective quests for Central Division honors and berths in the season-ending state tournament, the Longhorn basketball teams took steps in opposite directions Friday evening.
In Wilson dome, the Lady Horns saw their divisional credentials fall to 2-2 with a disappointing 66-54 loss to Fountain Hills.
The boys team, however, was at the opposite end of the spectrum improving to 3-1 with an 82-79 triumph at Fountain Hills.
The girls loss, coach Jerry Daniels said, was the result of a "flat night in which we were 0 for 10 from the three-point line and not a lot better inside the paint -- something like 22 for 66."
Only senior Stephanie Robertson, a 5-foot, 10-inch forward, had much success against the FH defense.
After a slow start in which she scored only two points in the opening quarter, Robertson heated up for a game-high 28 points.
Sophomore Rheanna Martinez contributed nine and Sidney Swartwood finished with seven.
Robertson and Martinez were team rebounding leaders with 14 each.
The loss, Daniels said, means "we'll have to struggle the rest of the season to get back in it (the divisional title chase)".
The Lady Horns will have the opportunity to right their listing ship at 7 p.m. Friday in Wilson dome against Santa Cruz Eloy.
A loss, Daniels said, would be a huge obstacle to overcome. A victory, however, would keep Horn hopes in tact.
While the girls were wallowing through tough times, Randy Wilcox and the boys' team were riding the long-range shooting of Hunter Walden and the all-around play of Jeremy Hoff to a win.
Walden finished with his best offensive effort of the season -- 28 points. His previous best was 26. About the only facet of the game he struggled in was at the free throw line where he sank only four of eight shots.
Wilcox cited Hoff for unselfish play that included eight assists, five steals, seven rebounds and 15 points. The coach also had accolades for Jeremy Reynolds who finished with six rebounds and was successful on nine of 10 free throws. Ryan Lorentz contributed eight points and six rebounds.
The team springs back into Central action this evening, Tuesday, at 7 p.m. in Wilson dome against Arizona Boys Ranch.
In previous seasons, the game would be a dome-burning showdown for both squads. But due to legal troubles, ABR has fallen on hard times and the reform school's student population has hit bottom. ABR sports teams have struggled all season. The Spartans fell to the Longhorns 75-49 at the Ames Ford Shoot Out in Winslow Dec. 5.