San Diego Effort Yields One Hardwood Win


Longhorn boys basketball coach Mike Loutzenheiser says his team's 1-4 record in the Steve Fisher San Diego State basketball camp is misleading.

"Actually we played well and were very competitive," he said. "We lost three games by a total of five points -- by two points twice and once by a single point."

The other two games, Payson lost by nine and 16 points.

Payson was playing against some of the best big school teams in Southern California.

"None of the schools we competed against had a student body of less than 2,200," Loutzenheiser said. "One school has 3,100 students."

By comparison, Payson High has about 900 students.

The team also was without the services of starting forward Donnie Wilbanks whose summer job kept him from participating.

Payson's win -- in the camp June 23 to 27 at San Diego State --was chalked up against an Escondido, Calif. school.

"That was a big win for us because the team had been region champions three years in a row," Loutzenheiser said.

Losses were to Bishop San Diego, Monterey, Carlsbad and Rancho Bernardo.

Three senior players with varsity experience -- Darren Daniels, Wellington Cassuto and Andy Sargent -- were among the eight-player contingent to participate in the team camp. Daniels played the "3" or small forward position; Cassuto is a "1" or point guard; and Sargent holds down the "2" or shooting guard slot.

Senior Nate Blazer, who played on the jayvee team last year, also participated but injured his ankle in the first game and did not return to the lineup until the following day.

The closest the Payson lineup had to a post-up player was slender 6-foot, 4-inch junior Bryan Schwind.

"He was matched up against guys 6-6 and 6-7," Loutzenheiser said. "We were pretty small, probably the smallest team there."

Also participating were Brandon Buckner, Tommy Ashby and Robert Newman.

Despite the lack of roster numbers and size, the team "worked their butts off," Loutzenheiser said.

During the tournament, the players received a taste of college life living in the SDS dormitories and eating in the school cafeteria.

In their free time, the players and coach enjoyed the San Diego beaches.

"The kids all got along. That's what made it good experience," Loutzenheiser said.

The coach said the players will use the camp experience and the summer program as a springboard to becoming better athletes.

"Most of the kids don't play fall sports, so they can just keep on practicing all their skills," he said. "At least, we hope they do that."

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