The Lady Longhorns' Cinderella Story

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The Lady Longhorn volleyball team has enjoyed a Cinderella-like ride all season long.

Not many fans and spectators expected much from the team at the onset of the season. But, as the campaign wore on, the team improved in leaps and bounds. The Lady Horns' success locally fueled a renewed interest in the sport, especially after PHS beat archrival and longtime nemesis, Snowflake, twice during the regular season.

Even former Lady Horn coach Steve Konvalin, now a Valley resident, sent his best wishes to the team.

Under the guidance of coach Arnold Stonebrink, the team emerged as co-champs of the 3A East regular season. The crown represented the first Lady Horn region title in the past 12 years.

The ladies in purple stumbled a bit at the East region tournament, losing to Round Valley and Snowflake.

But, the team will be going to the state tournament as the region's fourth place tournament finisher.

Although the Lady Horns have a tough challenge to overcome in the opening round against highly regarded Monument Valley, the players have shown the true grit it takes to pull off upsets.

The PHS vs. Monument Valley game will be played at 9 a.m. today, Friday, at Peoria High School.

State tournaments, in all prep sports, have traditionally produced some of the most startling upsets imaginable.

There are high school coaches who adhere to the philosophy: "Get me to the state tournament where anything can happen."

Because the 3A tournament includes only the top four teams from the four regions -- East, West, South and North -- it's not unusual for a fourth seed to pull off a surprise win over a region champ.

Around the Rim Country, there are fans, parents and students who are hoping one of those upsets occur today when the Lady Horns challenge MV.

Big loss

Former Tonto Village Shelby School basketball star, Harper Kamp, opted to take his talented hoop act to Mesa Mountain View High School when he graduated from eighth grade three years ago.

His decision was a huge loss for the Payson High School basketball program.

Had he decided to remain in the Rim Country, his hardwood presence -- along with those of seniors Miles Huff and Carlos Lopez -- would give PHS a team capable of winning a state title.

But, Kamp will be playing this season for the Toros who are coached by part-time Payson resident, Gary Ernst.

At 6 feet 8 inches tall, Kamp was recruited by most all PAC-10 schools, but has settled on California.

As a sophomore, Kamp was named the state's Player of the Year, but was slowed last season by a foot injury.

Reports out of Mountain View are that Kamp has recovered and is ready for a big season.

Kamp is not the first Shelby player to move to Mountain View. In the summer of 2000, Dallas Rensch pulled up stakes after a banner freshman season at PHS, and transferred to the Mesa school. At the time he transferred, former PHS basketball coach Jim Quinlan said Rensch could have become the best basketball player to ever don a Longhorn uniform.

For the Toros, Rensch earned all-state honors and a university scholarship.

AIA to honor '81 team

The Arizona Interscholastic Association will honor 1981 PHS football state championship players during halftime of the Class 3A state championship game, which kicks off at 4 p.m. Nov. 24 at Tempe McClintock High School. The game was originally scheduled to be played at Sun Devil Stadium, but the site was changed.

If you are planning to attend, call Max Foster, at (928) 474-5251, ext. 114, or e-mail at mfoster@payson.com. Your name will then be put on the guest list and forwarded to the AIA. Also, if you know the whereabouts of any former team members, please contact them about the reunion.

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