With two games remaining in the regular season, the Longhorns basketball team is racing toward the regional tournament clutching a 7-1 record (15-6 overall).
Sporting an identical region mark, Snowflake is tied with Payson for the East lead. If both teams win as expected, the squads would probably be declared co-champions and a coin toss would be held to determine the first and second seeds in the regional tournament.
Payson kept its record in Wilson Dome unblemished Friday night, beating the Alchesay Falcons 68-50. After jumping out to a 16-6 lead, the Horns pushed their cushion to as many as 22 points in the second quarter before the Falcons soared back to within 14 (39-25) at halftime.
After Alchesay scored the first five points of the third quarter, coach Mike Loutzenheiser quickly signaled for a time out to try and stem the Falcon rally. The ploy allowed the Payson players to regroup and rebuild their once comfortable double-digit lead.
The highlight of the game occurred with about two minutes remaining when Mike Barr, on a three-on-two fast break, scored on a picture-perfect slam dunk from the right wing.
"That was a monster dunk," Loutzenheiser said.
Barr's slam, which was executed while he was running hard and facing the crowd, brought the Payson fans to their feet. Because Barr spent most of the frustrating game battling a pair of bulky Alchesay forward/centers in the low post, the dunk had to be especially pleasing. Barr finished with nine points.
Nick Cassuto led all scorers with 23 points, Jake Swartwood contributed 10 and Derek Daniels had eight.
Payson returns to play at 7:30 p.m. tonight (Tuesday) in Lakeside against the Blue Ridge Yellow Jackets. The season wraps up Feb. 7 in Wilson Dome against Show Low. Tip off is 7:30 p.m.