While the Longhorn boys basketball team preps for tomorrow’s (Feb. 19) state tournament opening round showdown at Fountain Hills, the Lady Horns are turning in their uniforms and planning a season-ending awards banquet.
The boys team continues play in the postseason having earned an at-large berth on power points. Payson advances as a No. 15 seed and will play No. 2 Fountain Hills at 7 p.m.
The Lady Horns failed to earn a state berth either by finishing among the region’s top-three or on points.
But the disappointment of not advancing doesn’t curb any of coach Kelly Krieg’s considerable enthusiasm.
“We look forward to getting better in the off-season and how well we work together will determine our results for next year,” she said.
“We seem to have kids that are willing to put in the time necessary to build a program.”
Among those players she’s counting on to be big contributors in the off-season are Chioya Hill, Jaymi Carlen, Emmee Ashby and Molly Davis.
All were consistent performers during the 2010-2011 season as well as the final two region tournament losses, 47-24 to Snowflake and 58-31 to Round Valley, that eliminated the Lady Horns from further postseason play.
Both games were played Feb. 12 at Blue Ridge High School.
Against Snowflake, Hill had seven points, seven rebounds and two steals.
Davis scored five points and Carlen had four. Ashby contributed on the boards with nine rebounds.
“She averaged about eight rebounds in each game she played on varsity this season,” said Krieg.
Against Round Valley, which was a clash for third place in the East tournament, Hill turned in a standout all-around performance with 12 points, eight rebounds and three steals.
That prompted the coach to praise her saying, “Chioyla is going to be really good when all is said and done.
“She is coachable, tough and has the necessary heart.”
Also against Round Valley, Carlen scored four points, hauled in two rebounds, had two steals and dished out one assist.
Ashby was once again a monster on the boards with 11 rebounds.
With the season at an end, team members will gather one final time for the awards ceremony to be held at 6 p.m., Feb. 24 in the Rim Country Middle School cafeteria.