Horn Threesome Tapped All-Region

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A trio of Longhorn hardwood standouts has been named to 4A conference Grand Canyon all-region teams.

Senior Mike Barr was selected to the first team, Kyle Hubbard was named second team and Donnie Wilbanks chosen honorable mention.

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Longhorn basketball players (left to right) Donnie Wilbanks, Mike Barr and Kyle Hubbard were chosen to the Grand Canyon all-region team.

The all-region teams were selected in a voting of head coaches held at the conclusion of the regular season in Flagstaff.

According to PHS coach Mike Loutzenheiser, the 4A voting process is much different than it was when Payson was a member of the 3A conference.

"It's very difficult to be chosen (all region) because they only took six first teamers, six second teamers and seven honorable mentions," the coach said. "In essence, these kids were among the best 19 players in the region."

When PHS was in the 3A conference, 10 players were named to each team.

In announcing the all-region selections, Loutzenheiser praised Barr as "the heart and soul of our team. He led us in rebounding, scoring, field goal percentage, minutes played and blocked shots."

The 6-foot-7-inch, 235-pound center was a three-year starter who earned 3A East region first team honors as a sophomore and a junior. He was also selected to the all-state second team last year.

For Barr, the highlight of the season was a midseason game played in Chinle where prep contests typically draw thousands of fans.

"It was a good experience playing in front of 3,000 people," he said. "There were so many people there that when you scored you could not even hear yourself breathe."

Barr's efforts in basketball and football have earned him two scholarship offers. He remains undecided on which to accept.

For Hubbard, the winter sports season involved a tough decision. When PHS was move to the 4A conference, boys soccer became a winter sport along with basketball. In the 3A conference, which PHS was a member of until last season, soccer is played in the fall, which allowed Hubbard to play both sports.

"This year, it was really hard to decide which sport to play," he said. "Even though we didn't have a very good year, I'm glad I picked basketball."

As a three-year varsity letter winner, Hubbard began the year as one of just two veterans on the team. After moving to point guard from the small forward position he played last season, Hubbard went on to lead the team in assists, was second in scoring and minutes played and third in rebounding.

Loutzenheiser praised Hubbard for contributions to the team.

"He has a great work ethic, is very coachable and loves the game," he said.

Last year as a junior, Hubbard won second team all-region honors.

For Wilbanks, his honorable mention selection caps a campaign in which he was second on the team in rebounding and blocked shots and third in minutes played.

Loutzenheiser praised him for "giving everything he has on the floor ... he works as hard as he can on both the offensive and defensive ends."

The coach also cited the junior forward for "growing this year, not only as a player, but also as a young man."

Loutzenheiser predicts a bright future for Wilbanks.

"If he continues to work on all facets of his game, he will be a first team all-region player next year," the coach said.

Wilbanks said he was excited to play on the varsity squad.

"It was such a fun experience, that I'm now really looking forward to next season," he said.

With Barr and Hubbard graduating this spring; Wilbanks will be counted on to shoulder much of the leadership responsibilities of next year's team. He'll have the chance to adjust to his new role during an extensive summer program that Loutzenheiser has planned for his players.

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