A 10-day break from the hardwood ends today (Tuesday) for coach Krystal Garvin’s Lady Longhorns. At 6 p.m. in Wilson Dome, the Lady Horns play host to the Holbrook Roadrunners who are expected to bring their run-and-gun style of northern Arizona reservation basketball to the Rim country.
The last time Payson saw game action was Dec. 7 at the River Valley Tournament.
Since that clash, the team’s agenda has included daily practices and a scrimmage against the boys freshman team.
Among Garvin’s goals during the sessions have been to tune up the team defense and its 1-3-1 half-court press.
In early season games, most of Payson’s offense has been generated by the press.
After forcing a turnover or miscue, the Lady Horns have shown the ability to fast break down the floor and take advantage of an open shot.
“Our defense creates our offense,” she said. “We have to press and pressure the ball.”
In a 65-49 win over Mohave, Payson’s half-court press helped create the turnovers that allowed Trista Carlton to turn in a 33-point performance.
The senior low-post star is only one of four solid athletes Garvin can call upon to play the center/forward position.
Hillari Hardt, Kody Kepp and Ashli Herrera also have turned in commendable efforts when called upon.
In a Mohave Tournament win over Sedona, Kepp a sophomore scored a varsity career-high 17 points.
Herrera has been the Horns most consistent front court scorer, averaging more than 11 points per game. Her high of 19 was scored Dec. 3 in a win over Fountain Hills.
Sophomores Britney Owens and Krystal McRae have seen playing time at the forward position.
In the backcourt, the Lady Horns have capable ball handlers and defenders in Autumn Herrera, Haylee Huff and Tanya Davis.
Senior guard Laura Crabtree has come off the bench to give the Lady Horns’ backcourt a much-needed boost.
As the team prepped last week for today’s clash and the Holiday Hoops Invitational Dec. 27 and 28 in Wilson Dome, Garvin praised the players for their outstanding attitudes and devotion to the game.
“Their hustle and determination continues to impress me,” she said.
Today’s game against Holbrook will be preceded by a junior varsity game at 4:40 p.m. in the old high school gym. A freshman game will tipoff at 7:30 p.m. in the gym.