Lady Longhorn basketball coach Jerry Daniels heads to Laughlin Dec. 2 for the River Valley Invitational Tournament with a better grasp on what the 1999-2000 edition of his team is capable of accomplishing.
That's because Daniels had the opportunity to preview his team in a 67-60 season-opening thriller over Chino Valley Nov. 23 in Wilson Dome.
After watching his team jump out to an early 20-9 lead then hold on for dear life as CV rallied to close the score, Daniels said, "For an early season game, we played okay. They made a run at us but never got closer than three. That we were able to hold them off showed me a lot."
The early cushion the Horns built came courtesy of a well-rounded scoring attack from Sidney Swartwood, Rheanna Martinez, Jamie Peace and Kaitlan Wilkins.
In the second and third quarters, CV came to life, outscoring the Lady Horns 36-30. Payson salvaged the victory with a 17-point barrage in the final stanza.
While the Lady Horns cashed in on only 25 of 37 charity tosses (67 percent) in the game, when the going got tough in the final quarter the crew was successful on 7 of 11 clutch attempts. During the stretch, sophomore Jennifer Plumb made four consecutive free throws and finished six for eight from the line.
Overall scoring honors, with 15 points each, were garnered by veterans Sidney Swartwood and Rheanna Martinez. In early season prognostications, Daniels predicted the pair would have to shoulder the majority of the scoring and rebounding load until the younger players acquired much-needed experience.
In addition to their scoring, the duo lead in rebounding, teaming up for 26 rebounds -- 15 from Martinez and 11 by Swartwood.
Martinez also led in steals with five.
The squad's heralded foursome of sophomores -- LeeAnn Owens, Brandi Waugh, MacKenzie Hererra and Jennifer Plumb -- stepped up their game playing solidly at both ends of the floor.
Waugh contributed nine points, five rebounds and four steals.
Plumb had eight points, two assists and two steals. Hererra finished with seven points and six rebounds. Owens had two points and a steal.
The Lady Horns did lose the services of both Swartwood and Wilkins who were ticketed with exceeded fouls.
The Lady Horns will be in action at 7:00 p.m. today (Tuesday) in Wilson Dome against Fountain Hills. Originally the game was to be played in Fountain Hills but in a last minute change officials opted to play the contest in Payson.