There are 40 young men vying for 12 spots on each of the three 2012-2013 Longhorn basketball teams. Tryouts are taking place this week, with the first formal practice planned for Friday.
Those selected for the varsity squad will have their first taste of competition with non-Rim Country players at 5 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 15 when they host Winslow in a scrimmage.
Head coach Joe Sanchez said there are about a half-dozen 2011-2012 varsity players trying out for spots on this season’s edition of the Longhorns.
“The biggest things we want from the boys is a good work ethic, strength and conditioning,” Sanchez said.
He added these seemed to be lacking with last year’s team.
During the tryouts he said he has seen 100 percent effort from the team hopefuls and he and his staff have been challenging them throughout the tests.
The staff working with Sanchez this year includes Ryan St. John, varsity assistant; Cameron Davis, junior varsity head coach; Randy Herrera, freshman coach; and Randy Pryor, assistant.
Sanchez identified two of the Horns’ toughest opponents as Valley Christian, which, according to posted schedules, the team will probably face in tournament play, and Snowflake, with games Tuesday, Dec. 11 away and Thursday, Jan. 3 at home.
“Snowflake is always disciplined and good at what they do. It is a team we want to model,” he said.
Regular season play will not have Payson facing the 2011-2012 champion Gilbert Christian, but he said he and others watched them play and learned some things for which to strive in the coming weeks.
Games posted on the Payson Unified School District Web site:
• Tuesday, Nov. 20 at home vs. Globe; JV, 4 p.m. and Varsity, 7 p.m.
• Tuesday, Nov. 27 at Mogollon High School; JV, 4 p.m. and Varsity, 7 p.m.
• Friday, Nov. 30 at home vs. Sequoia; JV, 5:30 p.m. and Varsity, 7 p.m.
• Tuesday, Dec. 4 at Mingus High School; JV, 4 p.m., Frosh, 5:30 p.m., and Varsity, 7 p.m.
• Tuesday, Dec. 11 at Snowflake; JV, 4:30 p.m., Frosh, 6 p.m. and Varsity, 7:30 p.m.
• Saturday, Dec. 15 at Page High School; Frosh, 1 p.m., JV, 2:30 p.m. and Varsity, 4 p.m.
• Tuesday, Dec. 18 at home vs. Fountain Hills; Frosh, 5:30 p.m. and Varsity, 7 p.m.
• Thursday, Dec. 27 and Friday, Dec. 28 at Bradshaw Mountain Tournament
• Thursday, Jan. 3 at home vs. Snowflake; JV, 4 p.m., Varsity, 5:30 p.m. and Frosh, 7 p.m.
• Tuesday, Jan. 8 at home vs. Show Low; JV, 4 p.m., Frosh, 5:30 p.m. and Varsity, 7 p.m.
• Friday, Jan. 11 at home vs. Mingus; JV, 4 p.m., Varsity, 5:30 p.m. and Frosh, 7 p.m.
• Tuesday, Jan. 15 at home vs. Blue Ridge; JV, 4 p.m., Frosh, 5:30 p.m. and Varsity, 7 p.m.
• Wednesday, Jan. 23 at home vs. Mogollon; Varsity, 5:30 p.m. and JV, 7 p.m.
• Thursday, Jan. 24 at home vs. St. Johns; Frosh, 4 p.m., JV, 5:30 p.m. and Varsity, 7 p.m.
• Saturday, Jan. 26 at home vs. Alchesay; Frosh, 3:30 p.m., JV, 5 p.m. and Varsity, 6:30 p.m.
• Tuesday, Jan. 29 at Fountain Hills; JV, 5:30 p.m. and Varsity, 7 p.m.
• Wednesday, Jan. 30 at Blue Ridge; Frosh, 4 p.m., JV, 5:30 p.m. and Varsity, 7 p.m.
• Postseason play begins in February