The Longhorns jayvee girls hit the court Tuesday, jumping to a quick 7-0 lead over Fountain Hills.
However, FH came back with five unanswered points of their own, making it 7-5 at the end of the first quarter of play.
Payson defense held tough in the second period, literally taking the ball out of their opponents' hands on more than one occasion.
FH also made twice as many fouls as Payson, giving the Longhorns the bonus free-throws to help them increase their lead to 17-9 at the half.
During the third period, Payson continued its defensive pressure and started to hit baskets with more regularity. Offensive and defensive rebounding also played in Payson's favor and helped the girls extend their lead to 27-15 at the end of the period.
Payson continued the defensive heat in the fourth period and never looked back.
Despite a tough effort from Fountain Hills, Payson snatched the win with a final score of 39-24.
After the game, coach Rory Huff said first-game jitters were a significant factor for Payson.
"Our execution on offense suffered a bit because it was our first game of the season," he said. "Our hustle on defense and the fact we out-rebounded them and beat them down the court was our biggest strength."
Terri Pete led the Longhorns in scoring with 14, followed by Whitney Hardt with 11 and Amy Wilcox with 8.
"Whitney Hardt and Amy Wilcox were beating everyone down the court and Hillary Hardt really stepped up and did a great job for us, too," Huff said.