The state tournament fate of the Longhorn boys basketball hinges on the outcome of four East region games to be played during the next four days.
The crucial hoop set begins today, Tuesday, when the Snowflake Lobos visit Wilson Dome and continues here tomorrow against Show Low.
Friday, the Blue Ridge Yellow Jackets visit the Rim country and the streak wraps up Saturday when Payson travels to Pinnacle.
If the Horns are to battle back into contention for a top four East region finish and a seed into the state tournament, the team will need to win at least three of the four games. Anything less than a trio of wins and the Horns will probably be watching the big dance from the stands.
With a 2-5 regional record (8-9 overall), the Horns are on the verge of being eliminated from the East chase.
Only a month ago, the Longhorns were 2-0 and tied for first place in the East. Since then, the team has dropped five straight regional games to Blue Ridge (57-34), Snowflake (93-38), Alchesay (78-65), Holbrook (61-33) and Round Valley (49-43).
During the frustrating stretch, Payson has been outscored 338-213. Dec. 12, the Horns dominated the Roadrunners, winning a 70-58 decision. But just more than a month later, Payson was overwhelmed by the Roadrunner defense and couldn't come close to the 70 points previously scored.
Tip off time for all games this week is 7 p.m. Varsity contests will be preceded by jayvee and freshman clashes.