The Longhorns quest for an advantageous berth into the Grand Canyon regional tournament was put on hold Tuesday evening.
Due to snow and poor road conditions in Northern Arizona, the Longhorns regional showdown against Flagstaff Sinagua was postponed. The game was rescheduled for 7 p.m yesterday (Thursday). (Results not available at press time).
The eventual outcome of the game will have a bearing on where and against whom the Longhorns open Grand Canyon tournament play Feb. 10.
Coach Mike Loutzenheiser has predicted that a win over Sinagua would send the Longhorns north to play the Flagstaff Eagles in the state first round.
If that scenario unfolds, the game against the Eagles could turn into a barnburner.
When the two teams last met, Jan. 27 in Wilson Dome, it took an overtime period for Flagstaff to edge out a 54-42 decision. At the conclusion of regulation play, the teams were tied at 38. In the extra period, the Horn offense produced only a two-point field goal from Andy Sargent and a pair of free throws by Donnie Wilbanks.
Flagstaff's Forest Boughner's clutch three-pointer and the Horns' four missed free throws in OT contributed to the team's late demise.
Kyle Hubbard led the Longhorn scoring parade with 17 points that included five three-pointers and two-of-three free throw shooting.
Mike Barr tallied 13 points and Donnie Wilbanks had six.
As tough as the loss to Flagstaff was on Loutzenheiser and his players, it wasn't as devastating as a 56-54 loss to home-standing Chinle three days later.
"We still can't find a way to win the close ones," Loutzenheiser said. "But we played a great game."
The contest was played before an estimated 2,000 vociferous fans that made the environment doubly tough on the visitors.
As hostile as the reservation crowd was, the coach was excited that his players had the opportunity to play in front of those types of fans.
"It was a great experience for the younger players," Loutzenheiser said.
In the disheartening loss, Barr, who finished with 19 points, led the Horns. Hubbard contributed 17 points. Cort Connolly, Sargent and Wellington Cassuto scored six each.