The members of the Lady Longhorn basketball team gathered one final time March 24 at Payson Elementary school. There, coach Krystal Garvin and the players celebrated the past season in which the team finished as the East region runner-up and state tournament quarter-finalists.
Garvin, who was in her first year at the helm of the basketball program, praised many of her players for their efforts during the campaign.
The team's leading scorers and rebounders, Ashli Herrera and Trista Carlton, were named the Lady Longhorns Co-Most Valuable Players.
Kody Kepp and Krystal McRae received the "Big Game" award for their standout performances in the Lady Horns' two state tournament games.
Junior Amy Wilcox earned the "Endurance Award." A chronic sufferer of asthma, Wilcox sat out the first part of the season before returning to the team midway through the campaign.
Point guard Haylee Huff, who built a reputation for tenacious play at both ends of the court, received the "Outstanding Defensive Player" citation.
Garvin tapped Britney Owens the "Most Improved Player."
Autumn Herrera was named "Most Memorable." Senior guard Laura Crabtree earned the "Spark Plug Award" for her spirited play after recovering from an early season injury.
Sophomore Tanya Davis, who came out of nowhere to earn a varsity starting position, was chosen the "Most Dedicated Player." In coaching vernacular, Davis could be labeled a "gym rat" for her dedication to the game.
The festivities marked the end of prep careers for Crabtree, Carlton and Ashli Herrera. All will graduate this spring with the class of 2003.
Although Garvin will be pressed to find replacements for the trio's services, the Lady Horn cupboard is not bare.
The Longhorn coach has a solid crew of five talented sophomores who will return to the Longhorn fold next season. The good news for the coach is the group will come back battle tested, and several capable players from last year's junior varsity team will join the battle for varsity starting positions.
River runs Down Under
For Payson High School senior Bryce River to participate in Australia's Down Under Bowl football game, he must raise about $3,000 to pay his traveling expenses.
One of the fund-raisers he has settled on, with the help of Don and Pat Heizer, is a benefit steak dinner, from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., April 8, at Payson Elementary School. The menu will include steak, potato, beans, salad, bread and drink.
Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for children and are available at the door or by calling River at 474-6821.
As one of Bryce's former teachers and coaches, I can attest he is a fine young man who will represent our community well during his visit Down Under.
After reading "River's goal is football Down Under" in the March 28 edition of the Payson Roundup, a subscriber called Bryce and offered him a deal that will be hard to turn down.
The reader told Bryce that he has been following his athletic career at Payson High School. He asked Bryce for permission to sign the T-shirt that the Payson teen will wear under his game jersey and shoulder pads in the Down Under game.
For signing the shirt, he will donate $100 to the travel cause. By signing the shirt, the reader said he would feel like he was a part of Bryce's international gridiron journey. Bryce says he sincerely appreciates the generous gesture and the money will help him raise what he needs to become a member of the All-Arizona football team.