Lady Longhorn first-year basketball coach Jennifer White is calling it “our best game of the year,” even though her team dropped a 51-46 thriller to highly regarded Fountain Hills.
The Falcons entered the game, played Jan. 31 in Fountain Hills, with a 17-3 record, on a four-game winning streak and as huge favorites to stampede the Lady Horns into oblivion.
Few gave Payson a chance to win, but the gutsy and gritty Lady Horns surprised soothsayers by playing on even terms with Fountain Hills most of the game.
Possibly part of the Lady Horns’ urgency in the Section III clash can be attributed to the fact White and her players realized they needed a crucial win over FH to stay in the chase for a sectional tournament berth.
While PHS didn’t get the much-needed “W”, the team continues to hold out hope that a victory tonight, Feb. 3 over Show Low, would provide the power points the team needs to advance to the S-III tournament and possibly earn a berth in the division tournament.
The section tournament tips off Feb. 7 at Valley Vista and Willow Canyon High Schools in Surprise.
The Division III state tournament begins Feb. 14 at a site to be determined.
In the loss to Fountain Hills, Chioya Hill did her best “Paul Silas” imitation, totally controlling the board and corralling a game-high 13 rebounds.
But that was nothing new — she’s been a rebounding force since she broke onto the varsity scene two years ago as an untested freshman.
Because of Hill’s youth, the teen might be scratching her noggin’ wondering’s who’s Paul Silas?
He was possibly the best rebounder, inch for inch, and pound for pound, to ever play collegiately and in the pro ranks.
To be compared to him is the highest of compliments.
Offensively vs. Fountain Hills, Molly Davis had one of her finest game in a Lady Horn uniform, finishing with a team-high 15 points. Adrianna Pauslon had 11, Jaymi Carlen pitched in with 10 and Harley Turney had six.
Carlen also had five steals, four assists and two steals, making her all-around effort one of the finest of the season.
Turney finished with four steals and Davis had three.
Just a day after falling to Fountain Hills, the Lady Horns took on the Blue Ridge Yellow Jackets, an old foe from the days both were members of the 3A East region.
Once again, the Payson girls battled tooth and nail only to come up on the short end of a 49-44 score.