According to the saying, "Practice makes perfect." If that's the case, by the time the Payson High School freshman girls basketball team has its first game, they should be pictures of perfection on the court.
According to an e-mail the Payson Roundup received earlier this week, the youngest of the Lady Longhorns have yet to have any real game time.
Here's the e-mail, dated Dec. 3:
"OK. So, I guess you all haven't heard, but the freshman girls haven't had a game yet. They all keep getting canceled. Just last Tuesday we traveled all the way to Sedona and found out that they didn't have a freshman team, so we ended up playing our own jayvee team. Our first game got canceled because Apache Junction didn't even know that we were coming. And now our game on Tuesday got canceled because Globe doesn't have a freshman team.
"So our freshman team has been practicing for about one month or so and still haven't played one game yet. So if any of you at the Payson Roundup can help us freshman girls in getting a game ...
Thanks Gameless Freshmen"
Well, we can't help get a game for the girls, but we can offer an explanation and a chance to let coach Scott Nossek brag about the skills his team is developing.
First, the explanation:
Paty Henderson, secretary for Athletic Director Dave Bradley, has the responsibility of coordinating all the schedules. She said, if she was actually in charge they wouldn't keep changing all the time.
"We schedule thinking everyone will have a team," she said. "But Globe didn't have a team, neither did Sedona. And the game scheduled in Chinle was on Dec. 23. Since a lot of people are already gone for the holidays by then, we canceled that one.
"So, through no fault of their own, the freshman girls will not have a game until January."
Come January, the young Lady Longhorns will have two games in short order. On Jan. 3, Holbrook will be visiting and on Jan. 5 the team will travel to Snowflake.
Henderson said she will be calling in advance of the games to make sure they are happening.
In the meantime, Henderson said her boss is talking with Camp Verde and Mogollon to see if games can be arranged with them, even if it means playing a jayvee squad.
Now, about the team:
Coach Scott Nossek is leading the freshman girls this season, his first at the high school level, but he has been involved in the recreation basketball leagues for 10 to 12 years.
"I'm very impressed with how hard they've worked," Nossek said.
He said he is very pleased with their attitude, it has been outstanding. "There have been some real disappointments and they've taken it better than I have."
He has seen the team through some spirited practices over the past few weeks.
"Freshman basketball is about breaking old habits and building new ones. We've had some good, hard practices and they are learning a ton."
While the freshman girls have not had any actual games, they have had the opportunity to scrimmage with the jayvee and done a good job, Nossek said.
While the athletic director's office is working to line up games for the girls, the coach is also making calls.
"I've even called 5A schools, the girls are ready to play anyone. They'll take on all comers," he said. A couple of the large schools, Valley Christian and Basha, are looking into setting up games, he said.
In the meantime, the freshman Lady Longhorns practice, practice and practice.