The Payson High School boys and girls basketball teams season-opening visit to Winslow wasn’t exactly the stuff from which great memories are made.
In fact, the Nov. 24 jaunt made for a troubling ride home mostly because the Lady Horns were soundly thumped 74-35, and the Horns fell 66-39.
If it’s any solace to PHS coaches and players, both teams were pitted against Bulldog squads that are among the best in the 3A conference and ones many fans predict will be in the hunt for state crowns.
First-year Horns coach Jared Swanson said of the loss, “hopefully this got the first-game jitters out of our systems.
“I expect a lot more out of these guys than they showed tonight and I know they did too.”
Lady Horn coach Kelly Krieg, also in her first year at the helm of the program, did not comment about the defeat, but cited Kelsey Waugh, Jaymi Carlen and Chioya Hill as team leaders.
Waugh finished with a team-high nine points, Carlen had six points and two rebounds and Hill contributed six points and five rebounds.
For Swanson’s Horns, Ever Figueroa and Andrew Curiel scored 11 points each. Cody Waterman had 10 points and Dakota Marshall led the team on the boards with 10 rebounds.
The outcome of the game was never much in doubt as the powerful Dogs jumped out to a 14-7 lead and expanded it to 31-16 at halftime.
Payson turned in its best stanza in the third quarter when the team was only outscored 15-14 by the red-hot Dogs.
Some of Payson’s problems can be attributed to poor free-throw shooting. At the line, the Horns were eight for 24, which Swanson calls “horrific.”
Meanwhile, Winslow was 11 for 12 at the charity stripe and received a game-high 25 points, including four three-pointers, from Dale Dixon.
“We have a lot to work to do, both offensively and defensively,” Swanson said. “Our intensity level needs to be raised as soon as we step onto the floor.”
Both teams return to play tonight in Wilson Dome against Chino Valley. Tip off for the girls game is 5:30 p.m. and the boys tip off at 7 p.m.