After falling 60-48 to the state third-ranked Winslow Bulldogs, the Longhorn boys basketball team roared back to whip Globe, 69-47 and Chino Valley 71-40.
Against Globe on Nov. 29 in Wilson Dome, the Horns opened a 33-17 halftime lead and coasted to the victory partly due to a sterling 27 of 32 showing from the free throw line.
Tanner Hintze, a 6-foot, 3-inch sophomore forward, led all scorers with 17 points.
“Tanner can play well facing the basket or with his back to it,” said coach Bill Goodwin.
Hintze was also a beast on the boards, hauling in a team-high 10 rebounds.
Josh Oakley, playing wing or off guard, turned in a fine all around performance with 13 points, three assists and two steals.
Junior Cole Belcher contributed 12 points and eight rebounds.
One day after whipping Globe, the Longhorns traveled to Chino Valley to take on the Cougars of the 3A West ranks.
Payson scored first and led the entire game playing Goodwin’s suffocating man-to-man defense.
“We held them without a basket the final six and half minutes of the game,” the coach said.
“The kids are learning to play ball side and help side (defense).”
The only points Chino scored in the fourth quarter were five free throws.
About the only negative coming out of the game is Cole Belcher sprained his ankle and did not play in the second half.
His status is day to day, Goodwin said.
Tanner Hintze was again dominant on the board, corralling nine rebounds. Sam Grassel had five.
Sophomore guard Guillermo Lopez came off the bench to pace the defense with five steals, Zach Blazer finished with five assists and three steals.
Following the team’s return to Payson, Goodwin praised Blazer and Justin Moratti, both senior co-captains, for their leadership early this season.
Moratti, he said, “is only about 6-foot, but plays much bigger.”
The highlight of the two-game winning streak for the coach is that the team rallied late in the game after blowing a double-digit lead in the loss to Winslow.
“That’s our goal — to finish strong,” he said.
The Longhorns returned to action last evening, Dec. 2, against Hopi in the 2010 Cake’s Car Company shoot-out in Winslow. (Results not available at press time.)
If PHS won, they play at 6:30 p.m. today against Page.
The tournament wraps up tomorrow, Dec. 4. A field of 14 teams are participating in the tournament that last year was won by Payson.