Sometimes in high school sports, it’s just not your day.
Such was the case for the Longhorn boys basketball team on Dec. 18 in Wilson Dome where the Fountain Hills Falcons put a big-time hurt on the home boys, 72-48.
Payson fell behind early 21-18, but managed to stay in contention until halftime when the Horns trailed 40-31. But in the third quarter, the wheels came off the Longhorn wagon as PHS was outscored 15-7 over an eight-minute stretch.
Trailing 50-38, the Horns could never battle back into position, allowing the Falcons to run away with the 24-point triumph.
FH emerged with the win by riding a well-rounded scoring attack led by Christian Wachs who finished with a game-high 17 points.
Payson was led by 15 points from Richard Nielson and Guillermo Lopez. Following the clash, coach Joe Sanchez named Nielson “Player of the Game.”
Tanner Hintze and Jared Varner chipped in with seven points each. Ty Davis, who has been coming off the bench to give the Horns a lift, tallied just one point.
The Horn players now have a short holiday break before returning to action Dec. 26 to 28 at the Alvarez Tire Holiday Hoops Class hosted by Bradshaw Mountain.
On the first day of the tournament, the 16 teams will battle in one of four pools of four teams each.
Payson is aligned in the White pool with Chaparral, Cibola and Saguaro. The Horns open play at 2:40 p.m. tomorrow (Wednesday, Dec. 26) vs. Chaparral in the main gym and at 7:35 p.m. take on Saguaro in the auxiliary gym.
At 12:05 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 27 in the main gym, Payson plays Cibola. Later that afternoon, all the teams meet in cross-pool play.