A 70-58 thumping of the Holbrook Roadrunners Tuesday in Wilson Dome lifted the Longhorn boys basketball team (5-3 overall, 2-0 in the East) into a tie for the region lead.
Which regional teams the Horns are tied with will depend on the outcome of several East games played this week. Those outcomes were not available at press time.
For the Horns to hold onto a share of first place, the team will need to upset East rival Snowflake Dec. 22 in Lobo land. That clash, Horn coach Randy Wilcox said, "will be big for us."
In the win over Holbrook, the Horns left little doubt which was the superior team by jumping out to an early 25-13 lead.
"We had a big first period. (Mike) Doss and (Brad) Bynum had 18 of our 25 (points)," Wilcox said.
While the Horns could never duplicate the first quarter scoring blitzkrieg, the team continued to produce enough offense to maintain a comfortable 10-15 point lead throughout the shoot out.
Following the game, Wilcox lauded the play of the Horns' two low-post stalwarts Sterling White and Mike Doss.
"Our 'bigs' had a great game ... they blocked several shots and came down with some big rebounds," he said.
Doss took scoring honors with 21 points and corralled 10 rebounds. With 12 points and 13 rebounds, White was a thorn in Holbrook's side all evening long.
As a team, the Horns out rebounded the Runners 28-16.
Also, by cashing in on 11 of 14 free throws, the Longhorns reversed a disturbing early season trend in which they often shot 30 to 40 percent from the charity stripe.
Most importantly in the improved shooting was much of it occurred in crunch time. Just as Holbrook was trying to mount a comeback in the fourth quarter, Payson cashed in on seven of eight free throws.
In addition to good rebounding and on-target free-throw shooting, the Horns received outstanding floor play from Dusty Brockett, Tyler Pettet and Bynum.
Pettet finish with 10 points and six assists. Brockett dished out six assists and Bynum scored 20 while handing out seven assists.
The younger set
In junior varsity action, Payson unbeaten (4-0) underclassmen jumped out to a 23-10 lead then easily broke Holbrook's frantic full-court press to win 64-39.
Sophomore Waylon Pettet heated up the net in old PHS gym for a game high 19 points. Jacob Lee finished with 10 points and Nate Accord had nine. Ten of the 11 players on the jayvee roster scored in the rout.