The Longhorn boys basketball team returns to action today, Dec. 18, in Wilson Dome with players’ sights set on improving upon a 4-3 record with a win over a struggling Fountain Hills team.
The Falcons have won only one game this season, 81-61 vs. Scottsdale Coronado, and have lost some clashes by lopsided margins including 83-47 to a very talented and undefeated Gilbert Christian team.
The Longhorns, who opened the season 3-0, enter tonight’s game having been somewhat inconsistent recently having lost 56-53 to Flagstaff in the school’s invitational tournament, but then whipping North Canyon 46-42 later in the same invitational.
Much of the Longhorns’ success this evening and down the schedule road falls on the shoulders of 6-foot-5-inch, 215-pound forward/center Tanner Hintze who was a consensus postseason award winner last year.
Hintze was at his best Nov. 30 in a 79-51 win over Sequoia Charter High School finishing with a game-high 20 points although he did not play in the fourth quarter when the outcome of the game was no longer in doubt.
But basketball is a team game and for the Horns to succeed, strong efforts are needed from others, including shooting guard Guillermo Lopez, starting point guard Austin Young and reserve Ty Davis.
Since early season, coach Joe Sanchez has confidently predicted that Young has the moxie and the talent to pull the trigger in the Horns’ newly installed Flex offense and that Lopez can knock down jump shots when called upon.
Lopez proved he is that kind of shooter in an early season 65-30 win over Globe when he took game scoring honors with 19 points after Hintze was double-teamed.
Davis’ finest game might have been in a 69-45 win over Mogollon when he scored 15 points prompting the coach to say, “His energy kept us in the game.”
Jared Varner and sophomore Matt Davis have also turned in some sound early season performances providing Sanchez with several player options.
Following tonight’s game, the Horns take a brief holiday break before returning to play Dec. 27-28 in the Bradshaw Mountain Invitational.