An old ploy once used by hundreds of coaches to put the clamps on an opposing team’s best player helped spell the demise of the Lady Longhorns in a Jan. 21 clash against Blue Ridge.
The “Box and One,” which some coaches call a “junk defense” was dusted off, spruced up, given a new coat of paint and put to use to slow Payson’s do-everything leader Chioya Hill.
The gimmick “D” worked to perfection holding Hill to a season low two points and just six rebounds in a 44-36 East Region loss to the Lady Jackets.
The defense used four defenders playing zone defense in a “box” set-up. Two defenders were on the low blocks, and two were up at the elbows. The fifth defender played man-to-man defense against Hill — the player who for the past two seasons has pulled the trigger in Payson’s offense and defense.
The strategy helped Blue Ridge players ambush a PHS team that had beaten them twice this season — 53-36 in the Holiday Hoops Tournament and 56-33 on Jan. 11.
“It’s tough to beat a team three times,” said Payson coach Kelly Krieg. “But give Blue Ridge credit, as they were ready for us.”
With Hill struggling under the defensive pressure, Jaymi Carlen stepped up to score a season- and team-high 19 points. She also had four rebounds and two steals.
“She was huge for us,” said Krieg.
Molly Davis turned in what the coach calls a “nice game” with 12 points, two rebounds and a steal.
Emmee Ashby gave the Lady Horns a lift on the board corralling eight missed shots.
The most frustrating aspect of the loss to BR and other games this season has been the number of games missed due to injuries and other maladies.
“We have yet to have all of our players healthy at the same time which is frustrating,” Krieg said. “Yet we have continued to play hard and hopefully will get everyone back in time to better compete for wins down the stretch.”
That final stretch run begins today, Jan. 25, in St. Johns and continues Jan. 28 in Snowflake.
The Lady Horns close out the regular season Jan. 29 vs. St. Johns in Wilson Dome.
Postseason play beings Feb. 8 at the home site of the highest seeded team.
The state tournament tips off Feb. 15 in Lakeside.
Payson can earn a state berth with a top three showing in the East regional tournament or on power points.
That route, however, is iffy because the Lady Horns are currently ranked 19th in power points and must reach the top 16 to have a decent chance for a state seed.