The coach who, in her first year at the helm of the Payson High girls basketball program led the team into the second round of the state tournament, has resigned.
Krystal Garvin stepped down from both her PHS coaching and teaching position at the conclusion of the school year.
Garvin accepted a position teaching sophomore and junior English at Higley High School but will not resume her coaching career.
"I'll be working on getting my master's administrative certificate so I probably won't have time (to coach)," Garvin said.
However, when she completes her degree requirements Garvin plans on returning to the coaching profession.
"I'd love to get back in it," she said.
Over the course of her nine-year stay at Payson High School, Garvin coached junior varsity volleyball, freshman volleyball, junior varsity girls basketball and freshman boys basketball.
Last fall, following the resignation of former Lady Longhorn basketball coach Shaun Hardt, Garvin agreed to take over the program.
But for her to agree to become the new coach, it took a good deal of urging from players and parents alike. A late-night visit to Garvin's home by several athletes finally convinced her she was the coach the team needed.
Because the Lady Horns had lost almost all of their standout players from the previous season, expectations for team success were not high. In fact, around the East region the team was projected to be among the cellar dwellers.
Garvin quickly molded her young charges into a team to reckon with.
At the Payson Holiday Hoop's tournament in December, Garvin coached the Lady Longhorns to a third-place finish in a field that included eventual state champion Round Valley.
"In the early part of the season, even though we had some losses, I could see those girls were playing with all the heart and determination they could," Garvin said. "What more could I ask from them?"
Although team success often hinged on the play of five untested sophomores, the Lady Horns began to stockpile victories.
A victory over Snowflake in Wilson dome was "a season highlight," Garvin said.
In the postseason regional tournament against Blue Ridge, the Lady Horns staged one of the most remarkable comebacks of the season.
Down by five points and only seconds remaining on the clock, Garvin signaled for a time out to rally her troops.
Relying on pressure defense and clutch shooting, the team salvaged a much-needed victory.
With the win, the Lady Horns took the East region's No. 3 seed into the state tournament's first round against South's No. 2 Globe.
Playing the role of the underdog, the Lady Horns upset the Tigers to advance to the second round against North champion Monument Valley.
At Northern Arizona University, the Lady Horns showed remarkable grit but eventually were worn down, 81-65, by the much more seasoned Monument Valley squad.
Before being eliminated, the team posted a 17-13 record that some thought would be impossible to attain.
In the region, the Lady Horns finished as runner-up with a 7-3 mark.
Garvin said the decision to resign her PHS coaching position was the most difficult of her career.
"It was tough because of the bond I feel with those girls," she said.
"I got to know them so well -- they are more like my kids than just my players."
Although Garvin will be living in Higley, she has promised the players she will keep tabs on them both academically and athletically.
"They are so special to me, I have to stay in contact," she said.
According to Payson High School Athletic Director Dave Bradley, Garvin's position is open and he will be interviewing applicants.
No time line has been set to find a replacement.
In Garvin's absence, junior varsity coach Rory Hoff is serving as director of the Lady Longhorn youth summer camp.