Longhorn Hoops Enter Playoffs In 7th Place

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As the seventh-place regular season finisher in the eight-team East region, the Longhorns' boys basketball team faces the unenviable task of opening the playoffs tonight on the road against the Holbrook Roadrunners.

If the Horns can somehow pull off the upset of the prep hardwood season, the team would advance to the second round of the tournament Wednesday against a yet to be determined foe.

During Randy Wilcox's stint as head coach of the Longhorns which ended suddenly with his resignation Jan. 25 he predicted the team had the ability to pull off the upset needed to advance in the tournament.

"I think we can beat any of the (East) teams on a good night and end up at state," he said following a 69-49 Jan. 23 loss to Snowflake.

After Wilcox's jaw-dropping resignation, PHS Athletic Director Dave Bradley assumed the coaching reins.

With Bradley at the helm, the Horns have compiled a 1-3 record.

If the Horns own an advantage that could pave the way to state, as Wilcox predicted, it is the low-post duo of Sterling White and Mike Doss.

Wilcox constantly prodded his players to get the ball down low to the duo where they could maneuver for baskets and if not score, at least draw fouls.

Another Horn weapon Bradley might unleash is the long-range shooting of senior guard Tyler Pettet. A talented three-ball shooter from beyond the 19-foot, 9-inch mark, Pettet's accuracy can alter the defensive strategies of opposing teams.

The Horns chances of advancing in the playoffs increase if David LaForge, Dusty Brockett and Brad Bynum duplicate some of the good showings they've turned in earlier this season.

Winners of opening round East regional tournament games advance to final rounds Feb. 9 and Feb. 10 in Show Low. The state tournament begins Feb. 13 on the campus of Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff.

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