Lady Longhorn basketball players should now have the moxie and expertise it takes to salvage victories in the wanning moments of close, hard-fought games.
PHS hardwooders practiced most of the crucial late-game strategies and schemes at the 2005 Joan Bonvicini Team Camp June 24 on the campus of the University of Arizona in Tucson.
Lady Horn coach Rory Huff said the tournament was a great experience for the girls.
The contingent of 18 Lady Horn hopefuls that Huff and assistant coach Carol Hayes took to the camp were divided into two teams -- A or varsity and B or junior varsity.
During the three days, the PHS teams played nine games each. The A team compiled a 6-3 record and the B was 5-4.
Among the 50 teams, and 500 campers who participated, were several defending state championships including Mayfield, N.M.
Mayfield won a division championship as did Tuba City and the Tucson Heat Club team.
Camp Director Katie Brown lauded the winning squads for enduring against what she described as "very stiff competition."
Huff agreed the caliber of play was demanding. "It was an eye-opener for our girls to see the players and teams that were there. We saw firsthand what it takes to be really good."
Among the Payson players who proved her worth was senior-to-be Tracy Fitzpatrick.
"She showed she can play with the best of them," Huff said.
At the conclusion of the first two days, Fitzpatrick -- a hard-nosed varsity regular last season -- was named to the camp all-star team.
Huff and Hayes opted to take the girls to the University of Arizona camp for the first time after attending a coaching clinic last spring put on by Bonvicini -- the Wildcats head coach.
"I got the feeling at the clinic that the camp would be good one for our teams," Huff said. "And it was."
For the coaches, the camp afforded them the opportunity to assess and evaluate the players that will make up the three PHS teams next year.
"We know who we can count on and what each has to do to get better," Huff said.
The Lady Horns will continue their summer schedule of open gym practices from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. each Monday and Wednesday in Wilson Dome.
On Wednesday, the varsity team travels to Flagstaff where they compete in a 10-school league.