Erase any doubts concerning the Lady Longhorn basketball players after they were ignored on The Arizona Republic’s 1A-3A All-State team.
Possible misgivings were expunged March 21 during the Arizona Basketball Coaches Association all-star voting in Phoenix.
Chosen to the 1A-3A Girls All-Star South Team from Payson were Christina Deaton, Cydney Figueroa and Jenna Robertson.
Deaton, a McDonald’s All-American nominee last season, was also chosen the Co-Player of the Year along with Coolidge’s Chantel Moss who was named to the North All-Star team.
Lady Longhorn Kayla Morgan was chosen for the team as an alternate.
Ironically, all four PHS seniors failed to be recognized for either first team or second team, or even among the honorable mentions when the Republic’s 1A-3A All-State team was announced.
The lack of recognition by the metropolitan newspaper befuddled Lady Longhorn coach Stacy Anderson.
“I find that shocking,” she said.
Also on the AzBCA’s South All-Star team with the Payson seniors are Aleesha Jones (Willcox), Danica Patterson (St. Johns), Kara Bryce (Pima), Melissa Calahan (Tempe Prep), Ashlie Klump (Willcox), Lanae Reynolds (St. Johns) and Kallie Franzmeier (Arizona Lutheran).
Noel Hinton and Quintina Aday of Alchesay are among the four alternates.
The North team features some athletes the Lady Horns played against during their prep careers including Raquel Single and Chrissandria Jackson, both of Winslow, and Monument Valley’s Crystal Todachine.
Snowflake’s Nicole Baldwin — a longtime East Region rival of the Payson stars — is on the North as an alternate.
Willcox’s Tammy Hall will coach the South against the North in the All-Star basketball game to be played at noon, May 30 in the U.S. Airways Center, home of the Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury.
The 4A-5A stars will meet at 2 p.m. and a Phoenix Mercury preseason game will be played later that evening.
The four Payson all-stars led the Lady Horns last season to a 24-7 record. The team also won the East regular season and tournament championships and compiled enough power points to send Payson into the state tournament as a lofty three seed. After winning a first-round state game, the Lady Horns took eventual state champion Monument Valley to the wire before losing a gut-wrenching 47-46 decision.
Individually, Deaton finished as the Lady Horns’ leading scorer, averaging 12.1 ppg. She also hauled in 206 rebounds, blocked a 3A-high 73 shots and dished out 53 assists.
Figueroa, the Lady Horns’ starting point guard, averaged 7.7 ppg. As the team’s team’s quarterback, she was the one designated to bring the ball up against the press, play the role of floor general and defend from the top of the key.
Staying true to her role, she led the team in assists (101) and steals (64).
Robertson, a hard-nosed three-sport star, averaged 9 ppg, and hauled in a Lady Horn-leading 258 rebounds. She also recorded 60 steals and had 61 assists.
The culmination of the 2008-2009 season marked the end of a prep journey for Deaton, Robertson, Figueroa, Marquel Waterman and Kayla Morgan (formerly O’Donnell) that began at the end of their eighth-grade year.
After leading Rim Country Middle School to the White Mountain League championship, the five teammates traveled to Oahu, Hawaii the summer before entering high school to play in the Hawaii Classic Tourney Sport USA National Championship basketball tournament.
Deaton looks back at that journey as setting the stage for the five players’ high school careers, “It challenged us and helped us set our goals for high school.”