Senior Mike Barr's team-high 17-points weren't enough firepower to lift the homestanding Longhorns to a victory Dec. 2 over the Coronado Dons.
Payson's downfall could be attributed to Coronado's 24-12 scoring advantage in the final eight minutes of play.
Until the late surge, the two teams played on comparatively even terms.
At halftime, Coronado led only 32-26. At the conclusion of the low-scoring third quarter, in which the two teams combined for just 16 points, the Dons were clinging to a 40-34 advantage.
With the loss, the Longhorns fall to 1-2 on the year.
In addition to Barr's offensive output, Payson received 11 points from Cort Connolly and six from Darren Daniels.
Kyle Hubbard, the Horns only returning starter other than Barr, finished with just four points.
At the onset of the season, coach Mike Loutzenheiser lamented that the loss of 11 veterans to graduation last spring would be a tough obstacle to overcome.
As proof, the Horns seemed unable to convert against Coronado when the outcome of the game was on the line.
Coach Donnie Garvin's junior varsity squad posted its first win of the young season by defeating the Dons 71-39. After a closely contested first quarter in which the Payson jayvees led only 14-12, the Longhorns outscored Coronado 33-12 in the second stanza.
After halftime, the outcome of the game was certain. In a balanced scoring attack in which all but one PHS jayvee scored, Brandon Buckner finished with a game-high 12 points. Jake Winans tallied 11 and Zack Belcher chipped in with 10.
In freshman action, the first-year Longhorns improved to 3-0 with a 58-29 victory over the Dons.
Alex Bunk (15 points), Bryson Addington (13) and Hunter Hardt (eight) led an offense in which 10 of the 12 players on the roster scored.
In assessing the team's early season performance, coach Chuck Hardt cited its 55-percent field goal accuracy mark as "a sign of patience and taking good shots."
Defensively, the rookies shined recording 40 steals in three games.
All three Payson teams will travel to Prescott Dec. 10. Games are slated for 4 p.m. (freshmen), 5:30 p.m. (jayvee) and 7 p.m. (varsity).