In an 82-64 victory Friday evening over the Payson Longhorns, Valley Christian had the opportunity to prove why they are the No. 1 ranked team in the 3A conference.
After jumping out to a 24-16 lead, Valley Christian pushed the halftime cushion to 50-30. At the start of the fourth quarter, Valley Christian's potent offense had upped the lead to 70-41. A 23-12 Payson scoring advantage in the last stanza made the final tally a bit more respectable.
For Payson, senior forward Nick Cassuto had one of his best outings of the season, finishing with 23 points. Of those, 11 were scored in the late rally.
Derek Daniels contributed 14 points while engineering the Horn offense from his point guard position.
Chris Donaldson and Jake Swartwood finished with seven points each.
Following the loss, PHS coach Mike Loutzenheiser said the Valley Christian team was a talented crew.
"I see why they are top ranked," he said.
Monday, Loutzenheiser had his players on the Wilson practice court preparing for participating in the Eastern Arizona College tournament Dec. 26 to 28 in Thatcher.