The Longhorn boys postseason fate will be sealed at regular season-ending games today, Friday, at Round Valley High School in Eagar and tomorrow in Wilson dome against Show Low.
If the Horns (5-5 in the East, 13-12 overall) can cling to the fourth-place slot they now hold in the region standings, the team will open the East region tournament Feb. 8 in Wilson dome against the No. 5 seed -- probably Round Valley.
A pair of regular season-ending weekend wins over RV and SL would improve the Horns to 7-5 in the region and possibly into tie for third with Blue Ridge.
However, since BR has beaten the Horns twice in the regular season, the Yellow Jackets would receive the higher seed into the postseason tournament.
The Jackets swept the Horns: losing 53-49 Jan. 14 in Wilson dome and 61-53 Jan. 31 in Lakeside.
In falling to the Jackets, an old nemesis -- turnovers -- again took their toll on the Longhorn cause. Payson committed 22 miscues, 15 of them in the first half when the Jackets were building a 32-25 lead.
Payson roared back to outscore the Jackets 14-6 in the third quarter and eventually lead by one point early in the fourth, but the Jackets survived, mostly by converting Horn mistakes into high percentage shots.
"They shot 50 percent against us, mostly from easy looks due to turnovers," coach Chuck Hardt said. "We came from 10 down in the third quarter because of tenacious defense.
"The kids worked hard, but we didn't shoot well and the converted turnovers hurt us big time."
Brian Schwind finished with double-digits, scoring 10 points and corralling 10 rebounds.
Senior Brandon Buckner led all scorers, with 12 points, including a six-for-eight effort from the free throw line.
For the season, Buckner is averaging more than 85 percent shooting from the line, hitting 70 of 82 attempts.
East Region boys basketball standings
1. Holbrook (9-1)
2. Alchesay (8-3)
3. Blue Ridge (7-4)
4. Payson (5-5)
5. Round Valley (4-6)
6. Snowflake (3-7)
7. Show Low (0-10)
East Region girls basketball standings
1. Snowflake (9-1)
2. Round Valley (7-3)
3. Alchesay (6-5)
3. Blue Ridge (6-5)
5. Payson (4-6)
6. Holbrook (2-8)
6. Show Low (2-8)