It Ain't Easy Being A Panther

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Coach Pat Derksen, his coaching assistants, the basketball players and their parents have grown accustomed to the long road trip from southern Arizona to Payson and Pine.

After all, for the past 17 years, the coach and his team members have been traveling to the Rim country to participate in the Payson Boys Summer Invitational Tournament.

While playing in Payson, they stay overnight at our home in Pine.

The Tucson to Payson trek must now feel like a stroll in the park to those associated with the Amphi program.

After defeating Glendale Apollo 74-59 in the first round of the Class 4A state tournament Feb. 17 in Tucson, the Amphi team had to travel almost the length of Arizona the following day for a state tournament second round game.

The Panthers opponent in the game was Page, which earned the right to play the second round on its home court by virtue of the Sand Devils' Grand Canyon regional championship.

To some onlookers, having a high school team play one evening then travel the following day for up to 10 hours to play a second game seems more than a bit demanding.

But the situation turns even more bizarre.

Following the Wednesday night game in Page, the Amphi players jumped on busses for the return trip to Tucson, where they were expected to attend classes Thursday morning.

Those Panthers must have been panting.

Baseball field gets new look

Longtime Payson High School baseball coach Teddy Pettet is elated with the revamped Longhorn field.

"The field looks better now than it did when it was originally constructed 18 or so years ago," he said.

"We've had some people and businesses in the community really step up to the plate and show some serious support for the program."

More than $15,000 in materials and labor has been donated to help upgrade the infield, bleachers and outfield fences.

Anyone who has driven by Longhorn field recently has probably noticed the facility has undergone a facelift.

When the Longhorns kickoff their first year of play in the 4A Grand Canyon conference Feb. 23 in a scrimmage against Winslow, the improved field will undoubtedly be a source of pride for the players.

Pettet said he personally wants to thank all who have contributed to the project.

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