Payson High School basketball fans should begin laying plans for trips to the postseason region and state tournaments in Snowflake and Flagstaff.
Both the boys and girls teams are on track to take the top two seeds into the frays and they might have the firepower to contend for titles in both tournaments.
The Lady Horns are 6-0 in the region (17-2 overall) and all alone in first place in the East standings. In a crucial East showdown Jan. 23 in Snowflake, PHS caged the Lobos 61-55.
The Longhorn boys (5-1 in the East, 14-6 overall) are second in the East region standings. The Horns whipped the Lobos 74-46 Jan. 23 in Snowflake.
The Lady Horns win over the Lobos, coupled with Alchesay's 46-37 loss to Round Valley Tuesday evening, gives PHS a comfortable lead in the East title chase with one week of regular season play remaining.
Round Valley is now runner-up at 6-2. Alchesay (5-2) is third.
In the boys' victory over the Lobos, PHS rode a second quarter 28-5 scoring advantage to the win.
Coach Chuck Hardt attributed the turnaround in the quarter to a solid defensive effort that created turnovers and allowed the team to run at will.
"We scored with our transition game," he said.
Oliver Lewinson took game scoring honors with 21 points that included a 5-for-6 effort at the free-throw line.
Hunter Hardt hit two three-pointers and finished with 16 points. Carlos Lopez contributed 14.
In the girls' win, senior point guard Rhea Cosay turned in another of the monster games for which she is becoming known. In addition to pulling the trigger on the Lady Horn offense, she scored a team high of 13 points, dished out 10 assists, corralled seven rebounds and hounded the Lady Lobos for three steals.
Christina Deaton and Jenna Robertson finished with 12 points each. Cydney Figueroa tallied 11.