The best advice the Lady Longhorn basketball team could receive is the old adage, "Don't look over your shoulder, because someone might be gaining on you."
Should the Lady Horns choose to disregard the advice, they would see both Round Valley and Alchesay dogging them in the East region title chase.
With four games remaining in the regular season, both teams are scratching for an opportunity to gain ground on Payson.
The Lady Horns currently lead the region standings with a 7-1 record (18-3 overall) but Round Valley (7-2 and 18-8) and Alchesay (7-3 and 15-9) can't yet be counted out.
The Lady Longhorns were rolling along undefeated in East play until Jan. 24 when Holbrook sprang a 65-63 overtime ambush in the Roadrunner gymnasium.
Entering the game, a Roadrunner win appeared unlikely, partly because PHS handily defeated Holbrook 58-42 in an early season meeting.
But in the second go-round between the two rivals, coach Dale Larsen's rapidly improving Roadrunners clawed their way to a victory by outscoring Payson 11-9 in the extra period.
Regulation play wrapped up with the two teams dead-knotted at 54 apiece. Holbrook took a 27-23 lead into the halftime locker room, but Payson roared back in the third quarter to tie up the game, 35-35.
For the Lady Horns, senior point guard Rhea Cosay -- who many are touting as the best player in the region -- again led the effort with 20 points. She also contributed seven steals and dished out six assists.
Payson received 17 points and nine rebounds from Christina Deaton and 15 points and 14 boards from Kayla Morgan.
The unlikely demise of the Lady Horns might be linked to sloppy ball handling, as evidenced by 27 turnovers and lackluster outside shooting in which PHS didn't cash in on a single three-ball.
Although the loss rocked Payson's victory boat, it didn't shake the players' confidence.
Only three days after losing to Holbrook, the Lady Horns returned to the court with a vengeance, whipping Alchesay, 49-39.
The clash was a homecoming of sorts for Cosay, who last season was an All-East performer for the Falcons.
During the summer, she transferred to PHS.
Although Cosay didn't lead the scoring parade as she often does, she finished with an exceptional all-around game that included seven steals, six rebounds, three assists and 12 points.
Cydney Figueroa heated up the nets for a game high 17 points that included five of six shooting from the free-throw line.