Fish Fry Nets $1,600 For Basketball

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Payson High School boys basketball coach Mike Loutzenheiser and his players say thanks for the many sponsors and volunteers who helped make a recent fish fry benefit dinner a raging success.

"Boys basketball made over $1,600 at the meal and we greatly appreciate all the help," Loutzenheiser said.

In addition to the parent volunteers who helped prepare the feast, the coach and players thanked Payson Concrete, Wal-Mart, Hills & Son Construction, Safeway, Bashas' and Pepsi Cola for their generous support of the benefit.

The money earned will help defray the cost of much-needed items that cannot be purchased from the strapped athletic budget at Payson High School.

Most all middle school and high school sports host the benefit dinners at some time during the school year.

The wrestling team's specialty is spaghetti dinners. Other sports sponsor barbecued steak meals. Boy's basketball pulled off a first with the fish fry.

"We wanted to do something a little different," Loutzenheiser said.

The meals have proven to be a godsend in funding extracurricular activities.

In some small towns, school sports teams simply ask for donations to help defray costs. But in Payson, coaches have moved in a different direction by offering parents, fans and supporters something in return for their dollars -- a darn good meal.

Good cookin'

Following a recent trip to Roosevelt Lake with local fishing pro and licensed guide Clifford Pirch, our family had plenty of crappie and bass to fill the refrigerator.

For one meal, we decided on a chowder that turned out to be superb. The recipe we used came courtesy of Lawry's seasonings and was intended for walleye. We simply substituted bass and crappie.

It makes a bunch of chowder (which can be frozen and kept for camping trips) so you might want to cut the recipe for smaller portions.

3 to 4 pounds of fillets

1 bottle Lawry's Herb and Garlic Marinade with Lemon Juice

1 large onion, diced

6 large potatoes, 1/2-inch cubes

1 stick butter

3 to 4 tablespoons cooking oil

1/4 cup of flour

2 16-oz. bottles of clam juice

2 gallons of whole milk

1 pint heavy cream

Lawry's garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste

Cut the fish fillets in quarter-sized pieces and combine fish and Lawry's marinade in a resealable bag. Refrigerate for two hours. Saute onions in oil. Add enough oil to also cook the fish, sprinkling with seasonings. Remove the fish and onions and set aside as soon as they are done. Don't overcook. Boil potatoes in water with a dash of seasoning salt for about 20 minutes or until tender. Set aside. In a large soup pot, melt butter. Add flour to form a roux. Once the mixture has bubbled add clam juice. The mixture will thicken. Add two cups of milk. When the mixture comes to a boil, add cream and reduce heat. Add remainder of milk until desired consistence is reached. Don't overheat or milk will curdle. Add seasoning salt and garlic to taste. Let simmer 15 minutes, then add potatoes. Just before serving, add fish and onion mixture.

It's delicious.

Junior high/middle school wrestling finals

At the White Mountain League wrestling championships Dec. 14 in St. Johns, Rim Country Middle School student Mark McCarty grappled his way to the 125-pound championship. McCarty was the only RCMS wrestler to win a title.

Eighth-grader Porter Wilbanks finished second in the 104-pound competition. Zack Rodgers (118), Oshay Likens (98) and B.J. Welsh (180) were third. Taylor Byers (68) finished fourth. The team did not finish among the top-five in the tournament.

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