Both Payson High School basketball teams have the opportunity to test their mettle against the hoop-crazed North region in make-up games vs. Holbrook tomorrow, Jan. 2 in Wilson Dome.
The clashes were originally scheduled to be played Dec. 7, but when snowstorms rendered travel on SR 260 unsafe for school buses, the games were postponed.
Because the make-up date is a Saturday, game times will be different than the traditional 4:30 p.m., 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. starts for regular season contests.
The Lady Longhorns will play at 4 p.m. (freshmen), 1 p.m. (junior varsity) and 2:30 p.m. (varsity). The boys will play at 2:30 p.m. (freshmen), 1 p.m. (junior varsity) and 4 p.m. (varsity). All games will be played in Wilson Dome and the old PHS gymnasium.
Also on the make-up agenda are games against East rival Show Low that were originally to be played Dec. 8, but were postponed due to poor weather conditions.
The make-up games will be now played Jan. 11 in Show Low at the traditional late afternoon and evening start times.
Although Holbrook and Payson have not clashed this season, PHS and the Cougars met Dec. 15 in Wilson Dome.
In the boys’ game, the Longhorns ran past the Cougars 64-51. The Lady Horns survived 35-32, thanks to Jaymi Carlen’s game-winning goal in the final minutes.
For the upcoming boys’ clash, the Horns could be without the services of 6-foot, 5-inch center-forward Dakota Marshall, who has been sidelined with what is being called a stress fracture.
If Marshall doesn’t play against Show Low, the Horns will be without one of their most potent offensive weapons and a defense stalwart capable of altering shots and defending the basket.
In the win over the Cougars, Marshall finished with 17 points, 11 of which came in the Horns’ fourth-quarter rally that erased a four-point halftime deficit.
Against Holbrook, both PHS teams will be facing formidable foes who have been on a red-hot roll since the season tipped off in mid-November.
Coach Raul Mendoza’s boys team is 10-1 and has wins over three East region teams — Snowflake 56-55, Show Low 66-63, and Alchesay 74-66.
The Roadrunners also beat Class 4A Sinagua, 53-51, but lost to Chinle, 52-45.
Kory Koerperich, who is averaging a team-high 15.4 ppg, leads Holbrook offensively.
Tyler Stingley also is a scoring threat at 11.5 ppg, as is Jalen Jackson with his 11.1 ppg average.
The Holbrook girls are 12-3 overall, with impressive wins over the East’s Snowflake 55-47, Blue Ridge 59-41, Show Low 59-33 and Alchesay 76-48.