Back-to-back wins over East rivals Round Valley and Show Low have assured the Longhorn boys basketball team of at least a region runner-up regular season finish.
The Horns defeated Round Valley, 78-49, Feb. 2 in Wilson Dome, then went on the road the following evening to pound the hapless Show Low Cougars, 57-39.
With the victories, the Longhorns improved to 19-8 overall and 9-2 in the region, with only last evening's game against Alchesay remaining to be played (results not available at press time).
In defeating the Round Valley Elks, Payson rode the inside punch of a 6-foot-8-inch junior center/forward Oliver Lewinson to the win. Lewinson, who is the East leader in rebounding and shot blocking, corralled 11 rebounds, blocked six shots and had two steals. He also led the offensive parade with 20 points
Although the Elks received a boost from Jon Gillespie's game high of 22 points, Round Valley had no answer for Payson's all around play.
Seniors Miles Huff and Carlos Lopez turned in strong floor games, finishing with 12 points each. Huff, the East region leader in assists with a season total of 143, dished out nine and hauled in four rebounds. Lopez had three rebounds and one assist.
Hunter Hardt and Levi Neal chipped in with nine points each.
In the win over Show Low, Lewinson was a difference-maker again, finishing with 15 points, 15 rebounds and four blocks.
With Lewinson roaming the paint defensively and his teammates nearby to help out, not a single Show Low player reached double figures.
Offensively for PHS, Hardt tallied seven points and Neal and Huff added four each.
Neal also turned in a strong effort on the board with six rebounds.