The post-season fate of the Lady Longhorns might be decided by the results of a string of four games in the course of five days.
It’s a grueling stretch that would test the grit of the most committed of prep athletes.
The testing sequence began last evening, Jan. 10 in Wilson Dome against the Show Low Cougars.
The string continues tomorrow, also in Wilson Dome, vs. Blue Ridge.
The Lady Horns then travel Jan. 13 to Eagar to take on the Round Valley Lady Elks.
The stretch wraps up Jan. 14 in Wilson Dome against the Snowflake Lobos.
By the time the week is at an end, coach Kelly Krieg and her charges will have made a run through the East that will give them a good idea of how they stack up against region foes.
In that series, Snowflake and Round Valley have winning records and are in the running for regional honors. Blue Ridge and Show Low, however, are struggling and the Lady Horns should have the firepower and defense to contain both.
Payson does have on its record a 38-29 loss to Show Low on a Dec. 14, 2010 evening when the Lady Horns’ shooting went suddenly cold, allowing the Cougars to rally for the win.
A good showing during this week’s stretch, which would be possibly three wins, would mean an advantageous seed into the regional tournament when it tips off Feb. 8. Less than stellar outcomes, two or less wins, would mean the Lady Horns could fall to a fifth or sixth seed in the regional tournament.
The Lady Horns tuned up for this week’s gauntlet Jan. 7 in Wilson Dome against the Alchesay Falcons.
Although Payson lost a 48-44 squeaker, Krieg called the showdown, “a fun game to be a part of and our kids played really hard, which is necessary in order to continue to be competitive.”
Teanna Lopez paved the way for the Lady Horns, finishing with 19 points and six rebounds. Chioya Hill contributed 10 points and corralled 6 rebounds.
Sophomore Liz Harpe came off the bench to score five points.
“She played well,” said Krieg.
Reserve Emmee Ashby, a freshman who was not on the varsity at the onset of the season, also turned in a solid effort, pounding the boards for seven rebounds.