Scanning the stats of the Longhorns’ 64-56 loss to the Snowflake Lobos on Dec. 15, first-year PHS boys basketball coach Joe Sanchez bemoaned his team’s whopping 28 turnovers saying, “I wish (the stats) weren’t (accurate), but we played fast and our guys fell apart with the pressure.”
He summed up the loss, calling it “very frustrating.”
The defeat dropped the Horns’ record to 6-2 with both losses to Snowflake.
The first defeat was inflicted by a 75-60 margin Dec. 2 during the Cake Shootout tournament in Winslow.
In that loss, the Horns played the Lobos tough early in the game, just as they did Dec. 15 in Wilson Dome.
But in both games, Payson stumbled in the second half, allowing the Lobos to run away with the wins.
Payson actually held a 27-24 halftime lead in the most recent game before being outscored 40-29 in the final two quarters.
The Payson cause did receive an unexpected boost from Jamie Waddington, who scored a team-high 16 points despite missing all four of his three-point attempts.
Tanner Hintze, the team’s leading scorer all season long, finished with 15 points that included 6-of-7 free throw shooting.
Hintze also corralled eight rebounds, blocked three shots and dished out two assists.
Although Cole Belcher scored only three points, he turned in a fine, all-around floor game that included a team-high nine rebounds, four assists, three blocked shots and two steals.
Point guard Guillermo Lopez struggled against Snowflake’s defensive pressure, committing nine turnovers, but finished with 13 points to give the Horns a trio of double-digit scorers.
Nine of his points came from beyond the 19-foot, 9-inch arc. Although Lopez’s primary job is to pull the trigger on the Longhorn “O”, he sneaked inside for five rebounds and had three steals.
The Horns will try to improve upon their record today, Tuesday, Dec. 20, at Fountain Hills, where the Falcon team is rolling along with a 7-1 record and has won back-to-back games, thanks in part to the scoring of 6-foot, 4-inch swingman Jeffrey Bonner, who is averaging over 24 points a game.
Following the clash in FH, the Horns will take a brief holiday respite before traveling Dec. 27 to 29 to Bradshaw Mountain High School to compete in the Alvarez Tire Holiday Hoops Classic.
There, the team could clash with several out-of-state teams including schools from Nevada, Colorado and Arkansas.