After finishing the regular season 3-19 and 0-12 in the East region, the Longhorn boys' basketball team has one final opportunity to nail down a smidgen of hardwood respectability.
That comes this evening (Feb. 8) in Eagar, where the homestanding Round Valley Elks -- the sixth-place East finisher -- will play host to last-place Payson.
Horn coach Randy Wilcox said his team is anxious to assume the spoiler roll and if fate is kind, the Horns could pull off one of the biggest upsets of the prep season.
But if the results of two previous clashes between the two schools are to be a measure of success, the Horns could be in a world of hoop hurt.
In the first meeting of the two rivals, Jan. 14 in Wilson dome, Round Valley came away with a 54-46 triumph.
In the second clash, played Jan. 22 in Eagar, the Elks bugled their way to a 80-64 triumph.
Wilcox said he thinks it's possible to pull off an upset.
But before the Horns can even consider walking into the RV dome and emerging with a win, the team must step up its play from lackluster performances in an 82-53 loss to Show Low Feb. 1.
After falling behind 26-11 in the early moments of the second quarter, the Horns rallied to close the cat lead to 40-30 at halftime.
But a 17-9 Show Low third quarter scoring advantage iced the Cougar cake.
In search of a reason for the Horn demise, spectators need look no further than the scoring antics of Cougar Gage Permar.
The young sharpshooter -- the son of former SL hoop coach Al Permar -- finished with a game high 23 points that included 10 in the first quarter when Show Low was building a comfortable cushion.
Payson received double-digit scoring only from Matt Carter (13) and Andrew Easton (10).
Carter began the season as a jayvee performer, but was brought up to varsity two weeks ago just after the team lost two players to injuries.
His development as a varsity scorer has been remarkable, Wilcox said.
Also contributing offensively in the loss to Show Low were David Shaw (eight), Joe Sanchez (seven), David LaForge (four) and Keith Stevens (four).
A loss to the Elks this evening would wrap up the 2000 season for the Longhorns.
Tip off is 7:30 p.m.