East Region Title Earns Lady Longhorns A Bye

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Power points stirred a statewide controversy when the Arizona Interscholastic Association introduced them two years ago to the 3A conference.

But today, the Lady Longhorns are celebrating that they were eventually phased in.

They are thankful because it was power points that earned the team an East Region regular season first-place finish and a bye into the regional tournament.

The unlikely scenario began to unfold after the Alchesay Falcons defeated Payson 58-42 on Feb. 6. The following night, Payson wrapped up the season by defeating Snowflake 40-17.

But Payson’s loss to Alchesay resulted in the Lady Horns and the Falcons tying for first place in the region with identical 9-1 records.

Payson had beaten Alchesay 52-45 on Jan. 20. Before power points, the two teams — because they had the same record and had split their regular season meetings — would have had to flip a coin to determine the No. 1 seed to the regional tournament.

As most longtime fans know, Payson was almost never successful in those ominous coin flips. Former PHS athletic director Dave Bradley and ex-baseball coach Teddy Pettet were masters at making the losing “heads” or “tails’ calls.

But by using power points, the Lady Horns took first because they had 115.3889 tallies, second best in the state behind Winslow (134.25).

Because Alchesay was ranked fourth with 112.625 and behind Payson, the Falcons fell to the second seed.

As regular season champions, Payson plays only in the East Region championship finale at 5 p.m. Feb. 14 in Whiteriver.

The Lady Horns’ opponent will be the winner of a Feb. 13 semifinal game.

For that much-anticipated clash, it’s no surprise, most in small-town Arizona are predicting the game will pit the Lady Horns against the Falcons for a third time this season.

Some fans are saying the two rivals could meet for a fourth time when the 3A state championship is played later this month.

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