The Lady Longhorns took a roller coaster ride through the 2010 Holiday Hoops tournament enjoying the thrills of victory, but also suffering through the agony of defeat.
Payson opened the tournament Dec. 28 with a hard-fought 52-44 loss to Flagstaff Coconino in Wilson Dome.
Later that same day, the Lady Horns rebounded from the disappointing loss to beat Blue Ridge 52-36 in Julia Randall gymnasium. Lady Longhorn Teanna Lopez led the team to the victory with 16 points.
Playing in the consolation bracket on Dec. 29 at Julia Randall, the Lady Horns were steamrolled 61-19 by a very good Class 5A Mesa Westwood team. For Payson, Lopez led all scorers with five points.
The outcome of the lopsided clash was never in doubt as the run-and-gun Lady Warriors jumped out to a 30-12 lead with 4:46 remaining in the first half.
A minute later the score was 32-12 prompting coach Kelly Krieg to call a time out to try and right Payson’s listing ship.
But the time out was to no avail as the “big school” Warriors continued to dominate at both ends of the floor.
Lady Horns vs. Panthers
Payson’s opening game vs. Coconino mixed overloads of happenstance, hard-fought action and a pinch of tough luck.
During the final quarter, fire alarms sounded in the dome which most often results in some sort of evacuation. But officials decided to continue play deciding there was no threat and the alarms were accidentally set off.
As sirens shrilled alarm warnings, fans covered their ears and action went on without as much as a few seconds break.
Midway through the game, Lopez came down from a rebound attempt, twisted her ankle and fell to the floor in pain.
She was treated, escorted off the court and watched the remainder of the game from the sidelines.
The clash itself was a seesaw affair in which the Lady Horns took an early three-point lead only to see the Panthers roar back to assume a 29-27 halftime cushion.
With 6:17 remaining, Coco led 40-38 and four minutes later the score was 50-47, Flagstaff.
In the final minutes, the Panthers salted the game away scoring off a series of Payson turnovers and free throws.
All game long, the Lady Longhorns struggled to break the Panthers’ suffocating full-court press that harassed and hounded Payson players into crucial miscues.
Chioya Hill, who had been sidelined with an injured ankle, returned to the lineup to score 12 points.
Jamie Carlen had 11, Molly Davis six and Kelsey Waugh nine.
For the game, Coach Krieg brought up some of the younger players from junior varsity and freshmen to give them a taste of basketball in the fast lane.
Krieg has said she believes some of those players can eventually contribute on varsity.
The Holiday Hoops tournament drew 16 teams to Payson, some from the “big school” Class 4A and 5A ranks.