Three Lady Longhorns Named To All-East Region First Team

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A trio of Lady Longhorns -- Christina Deaton, Cydney Figueroa and Kayla Morgan -- have been named to the 12-player All-East region first team.

Two others -- Jenna Robertson and Brittney McDaniel -- were tapped honorable mention.

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East region coaches selected Lady Longhorns Christina Deaton, Cydney Figueroa, Jenna Robertson, Brittney McDaniel and Kayla Morgan to be members of the All-East team.

The players were selected in a voting of head coaches Feb. 7 at Round Valley High School in Eagar-Springerville.

Deaton, a 6-foot-2-inch junior, starred for the Lady Horns, playing a low-post position where she was a force both offensively and defensively.

She wrapped up the season as the team's leading scorer, averaging 12 ppg. She also corralled 7 rebounds per game and was the East region's leading shot blocker with 87 rejections.

Figueroa, a junior point guard, pulled the trigger on the Lady Horn offense the entire season.

In addition to her playmaking duties, she averaged 10 ppg and was often paired defensively against the opposing team's best guard.

Morgan teamed with Deaton throughout the campaign to give the Lady Horns a solid one-two punch in the low blocks. She scored at a 9.9 ppg clip and averaged 7 rebounds per game.

Robertson, a versatile athlete who could play several positions, led the team in rebounding, 9.9 per game, and was fourth in scoring with 7.4 ppg.

She was also a dependable defensive player blocking 27 shots over the course of the season.

Coach Stacy Anderson praises McDaniel as a team player who could be counted on to fill voids whether it be scoring, rebounding or defense.

The 5-foot-11-inch senior averaged 2.3 points and 2.9 rebounds per game.

The season

Payson's all-region selections led the girls' hoop team to a 22-8 overall record and a 7-3 East mark, which was good enough to tie Valley and Alchesay for the regular season championship.

In the posts-season regional tournament, the Horns beat both Round Valley and Snowflake, but fell to Alchesay in the championship finale.

At state, as a No. 13 seed, Payson drew the inevitable task of taking on North champion Window Rock, who some predict will win the 3A title.

WR was as tough as advertised, whipping PHS 55-47 in a first round game Feb. 11 at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff.

If there was a glitch in the campaign, other than the losses to Alchesay and Window Rock, it occurred in mid-January with the unexpected resignation of coach Grant Coley.

The former coach had been at the helm of the program since 2006 and last season led the Lady Horns to the East region title.

Following his resignation, Anderson was appointed the head coach.

The new coach served last season as an assistant, but was not involved in the program this year.

At the time she took over the coaching reins, the Lady Horns were floundering somewhat in the East title chase with a 2-2 record.

The girls seemed to respond to her leadership, staging a seven-game winning streak that culminated with the tie for the regular season title.

The good news on the Lady Horn hardwood front is the future is extremely bright, mostly because the team returns nine juniors next season, including the entire starting lineup.

As for Anderson, she's mulling over her return to the team as head coach.

"I'm thinking about it and there are some others I have to talk to, before I make a decision," she said.

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