Battling in the second round of the East regional tournament in Whiteriver, the Longhorn boys basketball team lost 60-54 to the Alchesay Falcons. With just less than two minutes remaining in the hard-fought contest, the Horns deadknotted the tally at 50-50, but that was as close as Payson could get.
Fueled by several late free throws, Alchesay pulled away and will now advance to the regional tournament semifinals to be played this weekend in Show Low.
Before advancing to the second round of the regionals, the Payson boys defeated homestanding Holbrook, 74-52, in a clash that saw 50 fouls and 68 free throw shots.
Mike Doss led Payson in scoring with 17 points. Sophomore Waylon Pettet, who spent much of the season on the jayvee squad, finished with 14 points.
Playing in what would have been his last high school game had the Horns lost, senior Tyler Pettet rattled the rims for a trio of three balls in the third quarter to finish with 13 points.
Others who contributed included David LaForge (9), Sterling White (7), Steve Williamson (6), Ky Bradley (4) and Jeremy Greenburg (4).
For the Horns, the loss in the second round spells the end of a season that saw head coach Randy Wilcox resign with five games remaining in the season.
Athletic Director Dave Bradley assumed the coaching duties after Wilcox stepped down.
In girls basketball tournament action Wednesday night in Wilson dome, the Lady Longhorns edged Show Low 52-45 to earn the right to participate in the East regional semifinals at 1 p.m. Friday in Show Low.
Freshman point guard Whitney Hardt led the scoring parade with a game-high 17 points.
The Lady Horns are scheduled to play East regional regular season runner-up Snowflake.
Wednesday's win over Show Low also ensures the Lady Horns a berth in the state tournament Feb. 13 in Flagstaff.