Class 3A East coaches confirmed what most every small town Arizona fan was thinking when they voted Payson High School sophomore Tanner Hintze first team all region.
Since the onset of the season, fans — and for that matter officials as well — have been singing the praises of Hintze, proclaiming him one of the most talented up and coming players in the conference.
Although he’s young and untested, Hintze shined almost every evening he was on the court.
In fact, he wrapped up the year as the Horns’ leading scorer average 12.7 points per game, and was also a monster on the boards leading the team in rebounding with 7.7 retrieves per game.
Among Hintze’s finest performances the past season was the effort turned in during the final game of the campaign — a state tournament opening round 62-46 loss to the Fountain Hills Falcons.
Although FH has one of the biggest front lines in the state – standing 6-foot, 9-inches, 6-foot, 8-inches and 6-foot, 4-inches – Hintze, who plays a forward-center position, battled his way inside for a team-high 20 points and seven rebounds.
Take that, big boys.
Hintze was equally as potent on Jan. 14 in a 69-63 loss to the tough Snowflake scoring a game-high 23 points and hauling in 17 rebounds.
In a 66-58 win over the Show Low Cougars on Jan. 10, Hintze flexed his talent to the tune of 20 points and 13 rebounds.
The showings against Fountain Hills, Snowflake and Show Low were the norm for the second year player whose presence on the court gives the Longhorns a legitimate chance to be in contention most any game.
Among Hintze’s most impressive talents is that he can play with his back to the basket or facing the basket, which is an unusual skill for such a young player.
If Hintze continues to develop as he did the past season, coaches and fans are predicting he will be, by his senior year, one of the state’s finest players regardless of school size classification.
In addition to Hintze being chosen first team, Zack Blazer and Justin Moratti were named all-region honorable mention.
Both were senior co-captains last season.