A well-balanced scoring attack in which four players finished in double digits lifted the Lady Longhorns to a 52-38 win over the Fountain Hills Falcons.
Contested Tuesday evening at Fountain Hills High School, the clash saw the foursome of Ashli Herrera, Whitney Hardt, Trista Carlton and Brandi Waugh combine for all but 10 of Payson's points.
Hardt and Waugh had 11 points, Hererra and Carlton tallied 10 each.
Center Brooke McRae banged her way inside for eight points and Shelly Closs capped the scoring with two.
Following the game, coach Shawn Hardt lauded his team members for playing well. "The girls are improving every day," he said.
The win over FH improves Payson's early season record to 1-1
Who let the Dogs out?
If the prep basketball world was a perfect one, no struggling young team would be forced to make its season debut against a perennial hardwood powerhouse projected to win the state championship.
But that's exactly the scenario that engulfed the Lady Longhorns at their season opener Nov. 20 in Winslow.
Paired against Don Petranovich's Lady Bulldogs who have won more regional and state titles that any team in the state the Lady Horns were slaughtered 79-30.
In Winslow, where many of the Hopi and Navajo athletes attend school, girls basketball is a way life. The Dogs court knowledge, experience, teamwork and conditioning helped Winslow jump out to an early 21-8 lead.
In the early run, the Dogs were buoyed by the pinpoint shooting accuracy of Nicole Begay who sank five three-balls from beyond the 19 foot, 9 inch arch.
Payson did not hit a three-pointer all evening.
For the Lady Horns, Ashli Herrera and Trista Carlton shared scoring honors with seven points each. Brandi Waugh finished with six and Haylee Huff had five.
Whitney Hardt (two), Laura Crabtree (two) and Brooke McRae (one) rounded out the scoring.