Gaining power points for advantageous berths into the Section III tournament just might be the tickets the two Payson High School basketball teams must be clutching to reach the postseason.
In boys power point standings compiled by the Arizona Interscholastic Association, the Longhorns are ranked 22nd among 56 Division III schools. In Section III, of which the Horns are a member, PHS is fifth with a 6-4 non-tournament record.
The Lady Longhorns, also 6-4, are rated 24th in Division III, which has 57 teams. In Section III, Payson is rated eighth.
Because neither team is among the leaders in either the division or sectional standings, the best way to earn a ducat to the D-III or state tournament when it begins Feb. 14 might be a top-three finish in the S-III tournament to play out Feb. 7 to 11 in Surprise.
If the section tournament were to top off today, the boys teams would open play at Willow Canyon High School against No. 4 seeded North Pointe Prep which has a 7-2 record and about a .3 power point lead over PHS in the current standings.
The two teams have not met this year.
If the girls S-III tournament was to begin today, the Lady Horns would slip into sectionals as the eighth and final seed and have the unenviable task of taking on No. 1 ranked Valley Christian on Feb. 7 at Valley Vista High School. That’s a scenario the team might not want to occur because Valley Christian is 19-1 overall and on a 12-game winning streak.
Valley Christian has two girls 5-feet, 11-inches and another at 5-foot-10, making them one of the taller teams in the sections.
As big as the trio is, it is 5-foot-4-inch junior guard Tara Kemmer who is the offensive threat averaging almost 17 ppg.
So what do the Lady Horns have to do to improve their seeding for the section tournament? It can be accomplished by moving up in the power point standings passing seventh-ranked Cortez (7-4) and sixth-rated Bourgade (6-4). Camp Verde, ranked fifth at 7-3, is also within reach if the Lady Horns can go on a victory run.
The boys team currently sports a decent seed, but could improve on it by surpassing fourth-rated North Pointe, third-ranked Parker (9-0) and second Valley Christian (7-3) in the power point ranks.