Former Longhorn Hoop Star Returns To Roots

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The Superstars Rim Country Roundup basketball tournament turned into old home week for a former Payson High School player and his ex-teammates.

Alex Bunk, now a starring member for two-time 3A state champion Fountain Hills, played on a Payson tournament team along with several former teammates from the 2003-2004 season.

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Former Longhorn basketball standout Alex Bunk returned to Payson April 28 to play with some of his former teammates in the Rim Country Roundup tournament.

That Longhorn freshman team, which Bunk led in scoring and rebounding, finished the season 17-0.

Following that accomplishment, Bank's family relocated to Fountain Hills.

Bunk returned for Rim Country Roundup -- April 28 and 29 in Wilson dome and the old PHS gymnasium -- to help lead the Payson team to the varsity championship.

"It was fun to be back with my friends," he said.

Former teammate Miles Huff, a PHS junior, agreed, "We're glad he came back for this."

In the fray, which was comprised of club teams in three brackets -- varsity, junior varsity and eighth grade -- Payson's entry opened with a win over the Flagstaff Ballers. On the second day, Payson won an overtime thriller over Team Fuerza. Later, Payson came from behind to beat Sedona. In the championship, Payson again nipped Team Fuerza.

Payson's junior varsity entry finished as tournament runners up. There was no Rim Country entry in the eighth grade bracket.

Mike Addington coached the varsity team and Joe LeSalandra the junior varsity crew.

The tournament served as a qualifier for the Superstars National Championships July 6 to 9 in Las Vegas, Nev.

Payson officials have not yet decided on entering that gold medal showdown.

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