Basketball is great stuff say the members of the Payson High School summer league program.
Their enthusiasm is due in part to the opportunities the about 15 aspiring varsity players have to showcase their skills on the state scene.
On June 7, the team traveled to Scottsdale Christian for a four-team round robin and today, June 13, will head north for a five-team, two-day tournament at Flagstaff High School.
The summer campaign tipped off May 30 and 31 at the Matador Invitational at Shadow Mountain High School.
There, the Rim off-season squad played its way to the consolation championship.
At the Scottsdale Christian-hosted round robin, the Horns finished 3-0 defeating Northwest Christian, Scottsdale Christian and North Canyon.
The win over Northwest Christian was particularly impressive because the team is the defending 2A state champion and is expected to repeat again next season.
"They had a 6-8 kid too, but we handled him pretty well," coach Kenny Hayes said.
In beating a solid Scottsdale Christian team, the Horns needed overtime to emerge victorious. Against North Canyon, PHS beat a team from the large school 5A ranks.
Following the team's return to Payson, Hayes cited Cody York, Shane Keith, Dakota Marshall and David Carlen for their play.
"Cody was our scorer, Shane set things up (offensively) and Dakota played well all-around," Hayes said.
York and Keith were starters on last season's state runner-up team.
Carlen, a rough and tumble middle linebacker on the football team, drew praise for his defense and improved rebounding.