Hoopers Win East Tourney Crowns; Grapplers On To State

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Andy Towle/Roundup - atowle@payson.com

Coach Kenny Hayes plots a new strategy during a break in the game Saturday, Feb. 14 in Whiteriver.

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Andy Towle/Roundup - atowle@payson.com

Getting ready to return to the hard fought game against the Lady Falcons, the Lady Longhorns rallied in the closing moments of the game Saturday, Feb. 14.

Longhorn wrestlers earned the right to participate in the 3A state team dual championships and both the boys and girls basketball squads emerged as East region tournament champions.

That’s the post season scenario that unfolded Feb. 14.

Horn grapplers, competing in Prescott Valley, finished as one of the top eight teams in the conference and will compete Feb. 21 in Wilson dome for the team crown.

Individually, PHS senior Nick Goodman won the 152-pound title pinning Snowflake’s Cody Bell in the finale.

The Lady Longhorns, playing in Whiteriver, thumped homestanding Alchesay 57-51 and will advance to state as a No. 3 seed. Payson plays a first round game at 7 p.m. Feb. 20 in Wilson dome against No. 14 Tuba City.

Among the oddest occurrences to occur over the weekend took place in 3A boy’s basketball.

Although the Longhorns whipped Round Valley 53-47 in the East tournament championship in Whiteriver, coach Kenny Hayes and his players will not know their state first round opponent until Feb. 17.

The delay is because the Arizona Interscholastic Association is reportedly investigating a rules infraction involving a 3A school bound for the state tournament.

Sources say it centers on the use of an ineligible player which is similar to the situation two years ago involving the Lady Longhorn basketball team. After Rhea Cosay was determined to be an ineligible transfer to PHS from Alchesay, the Lady Horns were booted from the 3A state tournament and had to forfeit the games in which Cosay played.

Although AIA officials will not confirm which school is now under investigation, sources say it is Globe.

Reportedly, a hearing will be held Tuesday to rule on the possibly ineligible player. State pairings will then be completed.

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