Tuesday evening in front of a hostile Show Low crowd, a pair of victories over the Cougars kept both Longhorn basketball teams in the East region championship chase.
By beating Show Low 49-40, the varsity boys team improved its East region-leading record to 5-0.
The Lady Horns stand 4-1 after beating the Cougars 56-41.
Payson's only East loss this season was to region-leading Round Valley (5-0).
The Horns were able to beat Show Low despite the fact leading scorer Nick Cassuto had a sub-par game scoring just one point. In foul trouble much of the evening, Cassuto could not get on track offensively.
Following the team's return from Show Low, coach Mike Loutzenheiser said he was confident Cassuto would bounce back offensively and be at his best when the Horns travel to Snowflake tonight (Friday).
With Payson's top gun firing blanks against the Cats, junior center Mike Barr stepped up to score a game-high 22 points.
When he wasn't filling up the net with his short jumpers, senior guard Waylon Pettet was cashing in on three-point bombs and free throws. Finishing with 13 points, Pettet hit a pair of three balls and was 5-for-8 from the line.
Nate Acord finished with six points and Derek Daniels had three.
In the Lady Horns' win, the team was forced to take the hardwood without senior Ashli Herrera who sat out due to illness. Most of the season, Herrera has shouldered much of the Lady Horns' scoring and rebounding burden. In her absence, sophomore guard Tanya Davis and senior forward Trista Carlton combined to score 22 points and control the pace of the game.
Also contributing were Kody Kepp (9 points), Haylee Huff (8) and Autumn Herrera (6).
At press time, coach Krystal Garvin was uncertain whether Ashli Herrera would return in time to make the trip today to Snowflake for an all-important East region clash.
Payson defeated Snowflake 54-45 Jan. 10 in Wilson Dome but the players realize playing in the Lobos' den is a tough assignment.
"We're going to try and destroy their dynasty of always winning at home," Garvin said.