Chinle Games Are Standing-Room-Only

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The snowstorm that struck the Rim country Tuesday forced the postponement of Payson High School boys and girls basketball games that were to be played Jan. 4 in Wilson Dome and the old PHS gymnasium.

A make-up date for the games against Flagstaff Coconino has not yet been set.

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Payson High School basketball players will take their hardwood act to Chinle Friday.

At press time, the inclement weather had not affected PHS basketball games scheduled for Friday in Chinle.

Players and coaches are slated to leave the PHS campus at 9 a.m. Friday for games which begin that afternoon.

According to Chinle school officials, the area did not receive any snowfall at midweek, but did have rain.

The schedule in Chinle will have the JV girls (4 p.m.), freshmen boys (5:30 p.m) and freshmen girls (7 p.m.) in the new high school gymnasium. The JV boys ( 4 p.m.), varsity girls (5:30 p.m.) and varsity boys (7 p.m.) will play in the Chinle Community Center.

Because the Navajo/Hopi reservation community is a hotbed of basketball, fans turn out in droves for the high school games.

Lady Longhorn coach Rory Huff estimated that almost 2,000 spectators attend the varsity games.

"It's a great atmosphere to play in and coach," Huff said.

Because of the huge demand for tickets, Chinle school officials are holding 100 ducats for Payson visitors. The tickets must be picked up prior to the varsity boys game. If not, they will be released to Chinle fans.

PHS basketball team members who have played in Chinle tell tales of being approached by fans and offered chunks of money for tickets.

Huff also remembers a game in which he tried to return to his seat on the bench following a time out only to find it occupied by a Chinle fan.

"It's standing room only," he said.

There is, however, a downside to playing in Chinle. Players and coaches must find a way to endure the grueling five-plus-hour bus trip from Payson.

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