The Payson Longhorn freshman basketball teams are headed in two different directions.
Following season opening wins over Scottsdale Christian and Globe, the boys team sports a 2-0 mark.
The Lady Horns, however, are suffering through the agonizing frustrations of not yet playing a game. The team has had games canceled against Apache Junction (Nov. 21), Sedona (Nov. 28) and Globe (Dec. 5). (See SportsTalk on page 1C.)
PHS athletic director Dave Bradley said games were canceled because those schools did not have enough players to field freshman teams.
"It's (regrettable), but not something we can control," he said.
In an effort to correct the problems, Bradley is contacting Mogollon and Camp Verde to schedule freshman games against those schools' junior varsity squads.
While the girls are left scratching their heads in disbelief, the boy's freshman team ran roughshod over Scottsdale Christian, 71-53, in a season opener.
"We outscored the Eagles in every quarter but the third," coach Joe La Salandra said. The final quarter turned out to be the difference-makers when the young Horns whipped SC by a 20-5 margin.
La Salandra credited the win to "our transition fast break and a pressure defense that controlled the game."
He also cited the team for unselfish play and parents for their backing.
"I really appreciate parents who are supporting their sons and (providing) encouragement to me and all the coaches," he said.
Individually, Cody Waterman led all scorers with 14 points. Ever Figueroa and Elden Siverson finished with 12 each and Brandon Alexander contributed 11. Dakota Marshall led the battle of the boards, corralling a team high of 15 missed shots. He also scored seven points.
The boys team returns to action Dec. 16 when it makes the long trip to Chinle to take on the Wildcats of the North region. Game time is 2 p.m.