Regular season basketball action has wrapped up for both Payson High teams and all that remains before postseason play tips off are make-up games postponed in mid-January by inclement weather that closed schools and highways.
On Feb. 4, PHS teams will travel to Lakeside to take on the Blue Ridge Yellow Jackets in an East Region clash originally scheduled for Jan. 22. The following day in Wilson Dome, both PHS squads host the Alchesay Falcons in games that were postponed on Jan. 20.
The East regional tournament tips off Feb. 9 at the site of the highest seed and the final four and championships will be played Feb. 11 and 12 in Wilson Dome.
The Lady Longhorns enter the upcoming make-up games fresh off the heels of back-to-back losses to Snowflake, 51-23 and St. Johns, 49-25.
Conversely, the boys team put an end to its nine-game losing streak whipping Snowflake 67-56, but a day later fell 60-55 to Class 2A St. Johns.
In the Lady Horns’ loss to Snowflake, Jan. 29 in Wilson Dome, the team was without two starters — Maddie Nossek and Jaymi Carlen — who were sidelined with injuries.
Coach Kelly Krieg is optimistic the two may soon return to the court.
“We hope to have Maddie back this week for our games at Blue Ridge and home against Alchesay,” she said. “Jaymi may be back to practice later in the week.”
Individually against Snowflake, Kayla Perry led the PHS efforts with six points and five five rebounds. Jordan Klabbatz and Kelsey Waugh had five points and five rebounds each.
Freshman Chioya Hill, a rising star as of late, pounded the boards for five rebounds.
“We were beaten by a very good Snowflake team,” Krieg said. “I thought our effort was good, but give Snowflake credit as they are very solid.”
In the loss to homestanding St. Johns, a venue where the Skins are traditionally tough, Waugh tallied nine points and Katie Welker had six.
Holly West corralled five rebounds while Hill chipped in the four boards and three assists.
The disheartening nine-game losing streak that haunted the Horns came to a screeching halt Jan. 29 in the win over the visiting Snowflake Lobos.
“This was the Longhorns first win of 2010 and hopefully a stepping stone to brighter things to come in the upcoming weeks,” coach Jared Swanson said.
A glimpse at the statistics gives good reason for the win, as PHS pounded the Lobos on the boards outrebounding them 45-20. At the free-throw line, PHS outscored Snowflake by 12 points, hitting 18 of 27 attempts.
The name of the game, however, had to be the return of Payson’s three senior co-captains to the lineup after two of them had been out much of the year with injuries.
Ever Figueroa, the only captain who has been available most of the season, led all scorers with 17 points while dishing out seven assists.
Cody Waterman finished with a fine all-around game, scoring 15 points, hauling in nine rebounds and recording five steals.
Dakota Marshall, a 6-foot-5-inch forward-center, dominated on the boards with 14 rebounds. He also scored 14 points.
Freshman Chase Walden was also a demon down low with 11 rebounds and six points. Tanner Hintze finished with 12 points.
In the East Region clash, the Longhorns led 15-13 at the conclusion of the first quarter and 35-28 at halftime but needed a solid defensive effort in the third stanza to nail down the elusive “W.”
The PHS defenders responded with what Swanson called “spectacular” defense, holding the Lobos to just eight third-quarter points.
With the defense handcuffing Snowflake in the quarter, Marshall turned on the offense scoring six points to give the Horns a comfortable 12-point lead entering the final quarter.
Following the game, Swanson praised his charges saying, “I was very pleased our guys played a very tough four-quarter game. We have been unable to play four full quarters the last few weeks, but tonight we stepped up.”
The coach is hoping the team continues its spirited play throughout the remainder of the season.
“We will most definitely need to keep it up in the region playoffs,” he said.
“There isn’t a team in our region that will be easy to beat as anyone can beat anyone on any given night.”