Although the Longhorn boys basketball season screeched to a halt earlier than players, coaches and fans were hoping for, the campaign did produce some impressive individual performances.
Tanner Hintze, Payson’s leading scorer and a 6-foot, 4-inch center/forward, etched his name into the Division III, Section III 2011-1012 record book, as did Cameron Romance.
Hintze finished the regular season as third-ranked in number of free throws awarded and Romance is fourth-ranked in number of steals.
Among coaches, Hintze’s free throw mark of 122 free throws is impressive because it means he was aggressive in taking the ball to the basket to draw fouls.
Those who usually rely only on jump shooting do not receive an abundance of free throws, which can hurt the team cause.
Of Hintze’s attempts, he made good on 87 of them for a 71 percent accuracy mark that is best among the top three in S-III.
Jeffrey Bonner of Fountain Hills and Bourgade Catholic’s Cody Zimmy were the only two players to shoot more free throws than Hintze.
Bonner was awarded 186, but shot only 53 percent from the line.
Zimmy shot 135 free throws and was a 65 percent shooter.
Romance, a senior guard, averaged 3.6 steals per game to rank only behind top-rated Randy Davis of Bourgade (4.3) and Cortez’s Jorrel Smith (4.0) and Bonner (4.0).
A pair of Romance’s best performances were turned in during a Nov. 29 win over Mogollon and on Jan. 24 against Show Low. In both games, he had a game-high six steals.
Hintze, Romance and their teammates saw their championship dreams erased Feb. 14 in Safford where the Bulldogs eliminated the Horns from the Division III state tournament with a 69-60 come-from-behind win.
Horn hopes of section III honors ended Feb. 8 in Surprise with a 75-60 first-round tournament loss to eventual champion Valley Christian.
With the two-game losing streak ending the season, the Horns finished with a respectable 16-13 record.