A 69-49 loss to Snowflake Tuesday evening in Wilson Dome extended the Longhorn boys basketball team's East region losing skid to six games. The Lobos' 20-point victory margin, however, is not indicative of how hotly contested the game was.
Putting on a display of true grit, the Longhorns broke out of the chutes red hot hitting five three pointers in the first quarter three of them by Brad Bynum.
After building a 19-13 lead, Payson appeared well on its way to avenging an earlier season 93-38 loss to Snowflake.
The Horns, however, couldn't sustain the early momentum. A spirited 16-8 rally lifted Snowflake out to a 29-27 halftime lead.
Throughout the third stanza, the two teams battled on relatively even terms with no team leading by more than six points.
Trailing 44-38 early in the fourth, the Horns remained in contention.
"I thought we were close enough where we could make a run at them," coach Randy Wilcox said.
But, the wheels came off the Longhorn wagon when Snowflake's Porter Caldwell turned up the heat from outside the 19-foot, 9-inch arc, hitting a trio of three-point shots.
Caldwell's offensive heroics which included 15 fourth-quarter points thrust a dagger in any hopes the Horns had of forging a late rally.
"Caldwell got hot. He was the difference," Wilcox said.
And while the Lobo star was scorching the nets, the Horns went into the deep freeze. After hitting six of 10 three-point shots in the first half, the Horns hit just one of eight in the second half.
"We were cold ... scored only 11 points in the fourth (quarter)," Wilcox said.
Although the loss was a disappointing one for the Longhorns, Wilcox praised the team's play.
"I'm proud of the boys for not giving up," he said. "Sometimes, it's tough to keep working hard when you lose for a while. It shows a lot of character for those who persevered."
The loss shouldn't dampen players or fans enthusiasm about earning a berth to state.
"I think we can beat any of the (East) teams on a good night," Wilcox said. "Even if we finish low in the (region) standings, we can still beat teams on the road (at the regional tournament) and end up at state."
With the loss, the Horns credentials fall to 8-10 overall, 2-6 in the East.
Scoring honors in the loss to the Lobos were garnered by Bynum who finished with 15 points.
Mike Doss contributed 13 and Tyler Pettet had 11. Ky Bradley (5), Sterling White (4) and Lonnie Eden (1) also scored.