After suffering through a forgettable 3-20 campaign last season, Longhorn boys basketball coach Randy Wilcox had his hoop sights set on a season-opening win Tuesday in Fountain Hills. An early victory, he said, would help erase the team's hardwood blues.
But there was no "W" in the Horns' travel plans.
Unable to mount any type of an offense, the Longhorns fell 44-31 in a game that featured very little point production from either side.
Low scoring games are the norm in early season play as former football players and cross country runners try to find their shooting touches. Seldom, however, do two varsity teams combine for a meager 75 points.
Payson's scoring attack was so anemic that no player reached double figures. High-point honors went to senior point guard Brad Bynum who finished with nine points, six of which came on a pair of first half three-balls.
Sterling White and Mike Doss, both low-post players, contributed six points each.
In junior varsity action, the Horn charges outscored Fountains Hills 12-8 in overtime to survive a 58-54 thriller.
Sophomore Nathan Accord paced the jayvees offensively with 15 points, seven of which were scored in OT.
Putting on a show of cool calmness, Accord rattled in three of four charity shots during the extra period.
Waylon Pettet heated up the nets for 11 points, but misfired on all six of his free throw attempts.
As a team, the Horns finished a less than desirable 15 for 30 from the charity stripe. A 50-percent free throw shooting exhibition probably means upcoming practices will be highlighted by some serious accuracy training.
In freshman action, also in Fountain Hills, Mike Barr's game-high 22 points wasn't enough to lift the Rim plebes to a triumph.
Fountain Hills' 53-47 win means the Horns must return to the practice court to find more offense to go along with the 6-foot-5-inch Barr's prolific scoring.
Next up for the varsity Longhorns is the Ames Ford Shootout today and tomorrow (Dec. 1 and 2) in Winslow.
All three teams play again Dec. 5 in Wilson Dome against Santa Cruz. Tip-off times are 4:30 p.m. (frosh), 6 p.m. (jayvee) and 7 p.m. (varsity).