Longhorns Claim East Region Title


By beating Blue Ridge in Lakeside for the first time in the past three years, the Longhorn boy's basketball team assured itself of the East region regular season championship.

The 65-54 win, which was chalked up Jan. 29, improved the Longhorns record to 18-6 overall and 8-0 in the East.


Levi Neal (33) will be among the Longhorn players leading the victory charge during the final two games of the regular season.

With the regular season title in hand, the Horns take their hard-charging act to the East regional championship Feb. 9 in Eagar-Springerville.

After an appearance there, the team moves to the state tournament, set to begin Feb. 12 in Flagstaff.

But before the Horns can begin scheming for the postseason, there is the matter of playing two final East region regular season games.

Payson plays today, Friday against Alchesay and tomorrow, Saturday against Snowflake. Both games tip off at 7:30 p.m. in Wilson Dome.

Although the outcome of the games doesn't mean much in the final standings, coach Kenny Hayes is anticipating a tussle.

"Alchesay has really improved since the start of the year and Snowflake is always tough," he said.

In whipping Blue Ridge, the Longhorns had to overcome foul problems that benched the front line of Oliver Lewinson, Matt Wilson and Tyler Savage.

"They were in huge foul trouble most of the evening," coach Kenny Hayes said. "The game was called very close."

With the front court trio not on the court, junior Cody York took up the scoring slack, finishing with a career-high 24 points. Senior guard Rob Walker contributed 19 points.

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