A quick start during which Snowflake ran over Payson 20-11 allowed the Lady Lobos to escape the Rim country with a 57-50 East regional victory Tuesday evening.
In the final three quarters, the Lady Horns went on to outscore Snowflake 39-37 but the team could never dig itself out of the hole created in the first stanza.
With the loss, the Lady Horns East regional record falls to 5-3, 13-7 overall.
Payson has the opportunity to improve their all-important each regional record today (Friday) in Wilson Dome against the Blue Ridge Yellow Jackets.
The team returns to East play the following day (Saturday) at Pinnacle High in North Phoenix. Tip-off time for both games is 6 p.m.
If the Lady Horns can emerge victorious in the two weekend games, the team would remain in contention for a top-four regular season finish. That would allow the Horns to open the regional tournament Feb. 6 with a home court advantage.
For the first round of the tournament, lower seeded teams travel to the site of the higher seed. The finals of the East shoot-out will be held in Show Low.
The top two finishers there will advance to the state tournament to begin Feb. 13 at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff.
The state tourney wraps up at Phoenix America West Arena.
In the loss to Snowflake, Reanna Martinez led the Lady Longhorns offensively with 20 points. Her scoring, however, couldn't counteract that of Lady Lobo Charaook who sank a trio of three balls on her way to 21 points.
Contributing to the Lady Horn cause were Brandi Waugh (12 points) and Whitney Hardt (6).
Ashli Herrera, LeeAnn Owens, Sam Ellsworth, April Cheek, Trista Carlton and Jennifer Plumb all tallied two.
In Eagar Jan. 20, the Lady Longhorns went into overtime before losing a 79-77 heartbreaker to the Round Valley Elks.
Again, Martinez led the PHS scoring parade with 37 points. Ellsworth chipped in with 11 while Herrera and Whitney Hardt had six each.
Waugh, Carlton and Plumb all tallied five.
On Jan. 19 in Holbrook, Payson whipped the homestanding Roadrunners 64-52 behind 30 points from Martinez. Whitney Hardt tallied 13.
In Wilson Dome against Alchesay Jan. 17, Payson ran roughshod 63-45 over the Falcons.
A well-rounded offensive attack saw Martinez (14), Waugh (12), Plumb (12), Herrera (10), Hardt (eight), Cheek (four) Plumb (two) and Ellsworth (one) light up the scoreboard.