Basketball Team Wins Cheered By Too Few Fans

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Both the Payson High School boys and girls teams are playing exciting up-tempo brands of basketball that have fans on the edge of their seats.

The only problem is, not enough students, parents and fans are showing up for the games.

The absence of fans was especially evident in the Longhorn's nail biting 59-56 loss Saturday to state third-ranked Chandler Seton Catholic. Only a portion of the north side bleachers in Wilson Dome was filled.

In fact, Chandler freshmen and junior varsity players joined a band of loyal Seton fans to create almost as much noise as Payson supporters.

PHS principal Roy Sandoval and some parents, like Tad Neal, were left scratching their heads wondering why more fans didn't show up for what turned into a nail-biter.

Coaches and players know the home court advantage is huge in high school basketball, but only if enough ardent and noisy fans attend to lend their support.

With Alchesay coming to Wilson Dome Jan. 12 for crucial East region showdowns, it would be a huge statement if the stands were packed with PHS faithful.

Alchesay plays in Whiteriver, a hot bed of high school basketball, and thrives in its home surroundings partly because fans pack the gymnasium for most every game.

At Alchesay, and most all other Northern Arizona reservation-area high schools, basketball games are standing room only and those who arrive late are left out in the cold.

Attendance at the Alchesay vs. Payson showdown would be the show of the support the fine young student athletes deserve as they take to the court to represent their families, schools and community as best they can.

At $5 a ticket, high school basketball is the best bargain in town.

Game times are 6 p.m. (varsity girls) and 7:30 p.m. (varsity boys). Freshman and jayvee games will also be played that evening.

P&R to host new offering

Remember the fun of dodgeball?

Most of us do, recalling it was a game we played in elementary school on the playground and in gym classes.

Although most adults have not played the dodgeball for years, we remember it as a team, or individual showdown, in which players try to avoid being hit by a ball that opponents throw at them.

Those who get hit are eliminated, and the team with the last man standing is declared the winner.

In 2004, the game enjoyed a resurgence in popularity when the movie, "Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story," hit the big screen.

The plot centered on a group of misfits who enter a Las Vegas dodgeball tournament in order to save their cherished local gym from the onslaught of a corporate health fitness chain.

This past school year, Payson High School hosted a first-ever dodgeball tournament that turned into a huge hit among the students.

Now, the Payson Parks and Recreation Department has decided to get in on the act by hosting an inaugural adult dodgeball tournament. It will be held Feb. 24 in the Payson High School gymnasium.

Town recreation coordinator Mary McMullen said the idea of hosting a dodgeball tournament was presented to her months ago, and with the success of the high school tournament, she decided it could also become a popular town sports offering.

"If the tournament goes over well, we could someday hold a league," she said.

The dodgeball recreational offering might be the most unusual since the town offered over-the-line softball 10 years ago.

In past years, some dodgeball competitions around the country had a downside when injuries occurred because rules were ignored and balls not suited for play caused injury.

McMullen assures those interested in participating, that the parks and recreation department has taken steps to ensure the new tournament will be both safe and enjoyable.

"Rubber-coated foam balls will be used and safety-conscious (National Amateur Dodgeball Association) rules (will be) enforced," she said.

McMullen also believes the league will be a fun way for adults to relive their dodgeball days and also enjoy healthy, stress-free physical activity.

Registration for the first-ever offering begins Jan. 16 and will continue through Feb. 2.

The tournament will include both men's and women's divisions as long as a minimum of four teams register for each league.

Minimums of six players, and a maximum of 10, are allowed on each team.

All participants must be 18 years of age.

The fee is $100 per team and includes tournament t-shirts. Prizes will be awarded to champions in each division.

Call McMullen at (928) 474-5241 ext. 7 for more information.

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