The Payson High School freshman boys team is picking up where it left off last season when, as Rim Country Middle School eighth-graders, the crew won the White Mountain League championship.
This season, the team opened with a 74-70 win over Scottsdale Christian, pounded Sedona 66-25 and polished off Globe, 60-40.
In the Nov. 28 season-opener against Scottsdale, the young Horns rode double figure scoring from four players to the victory.
Shane Keith tallied 22, Max Sieverson had 15, Tyler Savage chipped in with 14 and Matt Wilson tallied 12, Ridge Halenar had nine.
Coach Joe LaSalandra lauded the players for their dominance on the boards out-rebounding SC 27-13.
The rebounding edge, he said, allowed the frosh to jump out to an early lead and maintain it throughout the game.
A day after stumping SC, the Horns traveled to Sedona where they out-scored the Scorpions by a whopping 41 points.
Savage finished with 10 and was perfect from the field, LaSalandra said. Keith also had 10, Halenar pitched in with eight and Cody Sexton tallied seven.
In the battle of the boards, Michael Dahm corralled six missed shots and Savage had five.
By shooting 54 percent from the field, Payson was able to build an early cushion and slowly expand it as the game wore on. Payson's rock solid defense held Sedona to a single two-point field goal in the second quarter.
In whipping Globe Dec. 6, in Wilson dome, the freshmen out-scored the Tigers 20-11 in the first quarter and 18-3 in the second.
LaSalandra attributed the early lead, and ultimately the victory, to the Horns' transition game and aggressive pressure defense.
"Those were the keys," he said.
Sieverson drew praise for his individual defense and the eight points he contributed on offense.
Savage led all scorers with 14 points and Keith had 12.
Halenar and Wilson scored nine each. Wilson also had eight rebounds to lead the team.
The freshmen return to action Dec. 15 at Apache Junction. Game times are 4 p.m. (frosh), 5:30 p.m. (jayvee) and 7 p.m. (varsity).