Chandler Seton Catholic underclassmen might not relish any return trips to Wilson Dome.
Their hesitancy might lie in a pair of humbling defeats the CSC freshman and junior varsity teams suffered Jan. 6 to Payson High.
In the freshman showdown, Longhorn Brandon Alexander's three of four throws with only seconds remaining, sent the Sentinels packing to their Chandler digs scratching the wounds of a 52-50 defeat.
The junior varsity showdown was sparked by the Longhorns 53-point second half, that nailed down an 84-71 victory.
Jayvee coach Kenny Hayes attributed the rousing win to a rapidly improving team, "that is learning how to play ‘D'."
After watching his team score only 31 points in the first quarter, Hayes turned up the defensive intensity, calling upon a 2-2-1 full-court zone press and a stifling man-to-man to shut down Seton and create fast break opportunities for his charges.
In the rousing win, 6-foot-4-inch sophomore, Tyler Savage, led the scoring parade with 22 points.
Guard Shane Keith hit for 21 and Ridge Halenar tallied 19.
In an East region game played Jan. 5 in Wilson Dome, the junior Horns beat Snowflake 66-51, but two days earlier dropped a nail-biter to Holbrook 59-58.
Savage led all scorers against Holbrook with 20 points. Max Sieverson and Keith finished with 12.
In the win against Snowflake, Derek Lopez tallied 18, Sieverson had nine and Savage eight.
The PHS freshmen's narrow win over Seton could be attributed to a rock solid defense.
"Our players' willingness to play hard, aggressive defense when shots from the fields and free throws weren't falling enable us to battle back into position to win this game," coach Joe LaSalandra said. "Offense wins games, but defense wins championships."
The fledgling Horns also called upon a healthy dose of true grit to salvage the victory.
"They never gave up," LaSalandra said. "In the last minute of the game, I reminded them to finish and get the job done, and they got it done."
The coach cited Cody Waterman for his exceptional play that included 11 points, 11 rebounds, five blocked shots and two assists.
Ever Figueroa tallied 10 points, had five steals and two assists.
In addition to Alexander's winning free throws, he finished eight for 10 at the charity stripe.
The coach also lauded Nick Gonzalez, Trae Dunman and Sean Daugherty for the contributions to the victory.
The game marked a homecoming of sorts for Seton's Josh Sloan who played for Rim Country Middle School last season as an eighth-grader. He scored eight points against his former teammates.
Both the freshmen and junior varsity return to action this evening, Friday, against Alchesay Whiteriver.
The freshmen play at 6 p.m. and the junior varsity at 4:30 p.m. Both games are in the PHS gymnasium.