Coach Grant Coley and his Lady Longhorns are hoping an ambush is not awaiting the team Tuesday, in Eagar-Springerville.
A trap is a distinct possibility, mostly because the Lady Elks will be out to avenge a 69-36 drubbing the team absorbed from Payson in a Dec. 8 tournament game.
Also, because the game is the East opener, RV has its sights set on getting off on the right hooves in the regional regular season title chase.
As lopsided as Payson's tournament victory over the Elks was, Coley has indicated the tables could turn today if the Lady Horns don't arrive in Eagar-Springerville with their "A" game intact.
The Elks forte is that they have a proven veteran coach in Chris Matthews, a rich hardwood tradition and one of the region's finest players in Cassidi Donaldson.
In Payson's earlier victory, however, the Horn defense held Donaldson in check, forcing her into a four-of-24 shooting effort.
From three-point land, where Donaldson has been a sure fire scorer, she hit just three of 13 shots.
In fact, the entire RV team was off that afternoon, shooting only 15 percent from the field.
If Payson can duplicate that defensive effort, the Lady Horns could be returning with the White Mountains with their first East region victory of 2008.
Payson thrived in the win by dominating in the paint with its big three of Christina Deaton, Jena Robertson and Kayla Morgan, combining for 43 points and 20 rebounds.
That trio will be called upon on again this evening to try and thwart Lady Elk hopes for an upset.
Tigers claw Payson
In the Lady Horns (13-3) final non-region tuneup, Jan. 5 in Globe, the team had a rare off night, falling 56-38 to the Tigers.
The Lady Horns battled the Cats on even in the first quarter, but were outscored 19-9 in the second and 24-16 after halftime.
About the only offense the Lady Horns could generate was provided by point guard Cydney Figueroa, who led the team in scoring with 10 points.
Some of Lady Horns' woes can be attributed to poor free-throw shooting -- the team hit just seven of 18 attempts. The team did, however, receive a solid defensive effort from Deaton who had six blocks and one steal.
Game time this evening for Round Valley and for all-upcoming East region games is 5:30 p.m.
Admission is $5.