Playing "small ball" has taken on an entirely new meaning for Lady Longhorn coach Grant Coley.
Most often the term refers to a basketball strategy in which a coach benches his taller players in favor of a smaller, speedier lineup in hopes of taking advantage of fast break opportunities and full court pressure defense.
But for Coley, the option of putting on the court one of the tallest lineups in the East region no longer exists. Thus, small ball must now be played.
The decline of the team's towering front line began Dec. 30 during the Holiday Hoops tournament when sophomore center/forward Jenna Robertson went down with an ankle injury.
Lady Horn troubles heightened the past practice week when Kayla Morgan suffered a concussion after being hit by a basketball. Coley said both players could be sidelined for up to a month, depending on their rehabilitation and recovery.
Without the two near six-footers in the lineup, Coley must now depend on a pair of point guards, Rhea Cosay and Cydney Figueroa, for most of the offense.
"We're glad we have them both now that we have no height," he said.
Although the Lady Horns are missing two-thirds of what was once a dominating front line, the team does have forward Christina Deaton who has returned to the lineup after being sidelined early by a wrist injury.
In a 55-52 win over Snowflake Jan. 5 in Wilson Dome, it was the trio of Deaton, Cosay and Figueroa who shouldered most of the offensive load.
Cosay sizzled throughout the game scoring a game-high 22 points, hauling in 12 rebounds, dishing out five assists and chalking up five steals.
Her all-around performance was one of the finest ever turned in by a Lady Horn, reminding some longtime PHS fans of former court stars Amberlyn White, Colleen Hale and Erin Dahlman.
Just as Cosay shined against Snowflake, Deaton was a force, scoring 17 points, corralling 12 rebounds and recording a steal and an assist.
Defensively, she led the Horns with four blocked shots.
Figueroa tallied 12 points, had three rebounds, three steals and an assist.
Lady Horn shortcomings in the showdown included an inability to take care of the ball and a stagnant second half offense. Payson committed 16 turnovers, some of which were converted into Lobo baskets.
After scoring 34 points in the first half, Payson could only muster 19 in the second.
"That game caused me a few gray hairs," Coley said.
Guard duo on fire
In a 58-42 win over Holbrook Jan. 3 in Wilson Dome, Cosay and Figueroa again led the Lady Horn charge, tallying 13 points each.
Marquel Waterman posted 12, Morgan had seven and Deaton six.
With a 2-0 record in East region play (11-3 overall), the Lady Horns host Estrella Foothills today, Tuesday, in a non-region clash.
East action continues Jan. 12 when the Alchesay Falcons visit Wilson Dome.
Game times for both matchups are 6 p.m.