In selecting the All-State Small School basketball teams, the Arizona Republic sports staff apparently wasn't impressed by Rim country players.
The only local player to be acknowledged when the teams were announced March 16 was junior Mike Barr. The 6-foot, 7-inch center/forward, a junior at PHS, earned an honorable mention on the small school boys squad.
None of the Lady Longhorn players were selected first or second team or honorable mention.
The selection of the all-state teams is done by the staff with input from coaches' ballots, all-region teams, statistics, interviews with coaches and reporters' observations.
In the slight, there was some good news for Payson High School basketball coach Mike Loutzenheiser. When he coaches the North team in this summer's Arizona Coaches Association All-Star game, he'll have plenty of talent to call upon.
Of the five players selected to the small school first team, four will be members of Loutzenheiser's north squad. They include Porter Caldwell (Snowflake), Devi Dugi (Tuba City), Tim Kruge (Valley Christian) and Stephen Soriano (Mayer).
The only first-team all-state player slated to participate on the South all-star team is Globe's Mike Radanovich.
The Republic's Small School Player of the Year honors went to the 6-foot, 8-inch Kruge who led Valley Christian to two Class 2A championships. Kruge has accepted a full ride scholarship to play basketball for NAIA member Point Loma Nazarene in San Diego.
Loutzenheiser has firsthand knowledge of Kruge, having seen him in action during Valley Christian's 82-64 win over Payson Dec. 20.
Without Barr in the lineup, Kruge led Valley Christian to the victory scoring a game-high 21 points. Barr, who would have defended Kruge, was sidelined by an injury when the game was played.
With four first team all-staters and the player of the year on his North all-star squad, Loutzenheiser says he will be under pressure to produce a winning team in the ACA clash.
That contest is June 7 at Casa Grande.