A break-even 13-13 record and a regular season ending 49-33 win over Show Low wasn’t enough to earn the Lady Longhorn basketball team an invitation to the sectional tournament.
To receive a ducat to the postseason fray, which begins today, Feb. 7 at Willow Canyon and Valley Vista High Schools in Surprise, PHS needed to finish in power points among the top eight S-III ranked teams.
The Lady Horns just missed on an invite finishing 10th, less than two power points behind Sedona Red Rock, the eighth and final seed.
There continues to be a remote chance the team could still earn a spot in the 24-team Division III state tournament when it begins Feb. 15 at a site to be determined.
The invitation is possible because teams not finishing in the top four at sectionals and even those that don’t qualify for the sectionals can receive one of 12 at-large bids up for grabs after sectional tournaments wrap up.
Those invitations will be issued on power point standings.
If there were games lost in the past season that, if won, could have earned the Lady Horns a ticket to Sectionals, it was two clashes vs. Blue Ridge.
On Jan. 17, Payson lost to the Yellow Jackets 58-54 and on Feb. 1 PHS dropped a 49-44 decision.
If Payson had won those two gut wrenchers, the girls would probably be preparing for the postseason rather than sitting on the outside looking in.
Regular season battles for the Lady Horns wrapped up Feb. 3 in Wilson Dome with a 49-33 win over the Show Low Cougars.
Payson left little doubt about which was the superior team, jumping out to a 14-3 lead and expanding it to 24-9 at halftime.
From there, coach Jen White took the pedal off the metal, inserting reserves to coast to the easy win.