A Northwestern University-bound basketball player, who for the past two seasons has led Scottsdale Christian Academy to a 64-3 record and back-to-back state titles, proved too much for the Longhorns to handle.
Kevin Coble, a 6-foot, 8-inch 180-pound all-stater and Arizona player of the year, scored 28 points in SCA's 63-41 season opening victory over the Longhorns.
"We had no answer (for Coble)," PHS coach Chuck Hardt said. "He scored 15 first half points, mostly from outside, and blocked numerous shots."
Also contributing to the Horns demise in the Nov. 22 defeat on the campus of Scottsdale Christian was the loss of senior Brian Schwind who took an elbow to the nose midway through the first quarter.
"He had a severe laceration and possible broken nose," Hardt said after the game. "His parents took him back (to Payson) to get stitches."
Schwind's stitches were removed Nov. 28 and he was cleared to play the following day, his father Bill Schwind said.
In the loss to SCA, Payson fell behind 30-13 at halftime, mostly due to the scoring of Coble, but rebounded to outscore the academy 18-15 in the third quarter.
"We got to within nine (points) twice, but they got us by eight in the final period," Hardt said.
For Payson, junior guard Bryson Addington led the team in scoring with nine points. Sophomore Ollie Lewinson finished with eight.
In the well-rounded PHS attack, nine of the 10 players on the roster scored.
In assessing the Horn effort after the loss, Hardt said, "The offense is stagnant. We need to be patient and keep working.
"The defense is getting better."
The Longhorn junior varsity, coached by Kenny Hayes, rode 17 points and 10 rebounds from Robert Walker to a 54-45 victory.
After Scottsdale jumped out to a 10-2 early lead, the Horn jayvees came roaring back to post a 29-15 halftime cushion.
SCA closed to within five points early in the third quarter before Payson again pulled away.
"We started out slow in both halves, but then out-worked them," Hayes said.
Levi Neal tallied 14 points and Cody York had 12.
The Longhorns return to action Nov. 29 in Sedona. Game times are at 4 p.m. (freshmen), 5:30 p.m. (jayvee), and 7 p.m. (varsity).
Payson also will travel Dec. 1-3 to Winslow where the varsity will participate in the Bulldog Invitational.