Newly appointed Payson High School Athletic Director Don Heizer has yet to achieve the notoriety of that 80-year-old auto magnate who spouts the catch phrase “That ain’t no bull,” but he’s beating the bushes around town with a goal of generating support for Longhorn sports programs.
Late last week, the new AD was busy promoting the boys and girls basketball teams as they prepare to debut in preseason scrimmages on Thursday, Nov. 15 in Wilson Dome against Winslow.
“We are going to surprise some people this year with the quality of play the community is going to see,” Heizer said.
He even threw a few plaudits Winslow’s way, saying the Bulldogs had “one of the finest basketball tradition laden programs.”
For the two scrimmages, admission will not be charged, but Heizer is asking spectators to donate a non-perishable food item, or cash, which will be given to the Payson food bank.
The boys scrimmage will begin at 5 p.m.; the girls tip off at 6:30 p.m.
The boys season begins in earnest at 7 p.m., Tuesday Nov. 20 in Wilson Dome.
The Lady Longhorns tip off that same day at 5:30 p.m. in Wilson Dome also against Globe.
During the 2012-13 season, a highlight for the Lady Horns will be the annual Payson Holiday Hoops Tournament to be contested Dec. 28 and 29.
Last year the tournament was held in Wilson Dome and Julia Randall Elementary School gymnasium because old PHS gym was being renovated. The fray drew 16 teams representing schools of all size classifications.
Xavier, an exclusive Jesuit college prep school in Phoenix, was the only team to finish undefeated, going 4-0 and winning the Hoops championship title.
Xavier’s toughest game occurred on the second day in Wilson Dome when Marana pushed the Gators to the limit before falling 48-39.
In the championship finale, Xavier easily disposed of runner-up Mesa Westwood, 62-41. Tucson Catalina Foothills finished 3-1, but had to settle for the consolation championship.
Marana finished third, besting fourth-place Payson 44-38, in the bronze medal showdown.
In a voting of coaches for all-tournament team, Payson landed two players — Teanna Lopez and Chioya Hill — on the prestigious squad.
Xavier also placed two players while Marana, Gilbert and Queen Creek each had one player selected.
The all-tournament honorees received souvenir sweatshirts thanks to a $400 donation from the Tonto Apache Tribe.
The boys basketball team does not host a tournament, but rather travels Dec. 6 to 8 to Flagstaff for a tournament and Dec. 27 to 28 to Bradshaw Mountain for the Bears Invitational.
Just weeks after being hired as AD, Heizer said among his goals was to have every PHS sports team host at least one tournament during the season.
Doing so, he said, will increase revenue and promote the town and school to visitors.
Since the next school sports scheduling block is for the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 seasons, the boys team will soon have the opportunity to add a home tournament to its program.
Loutzenheiser a school administrator
Mike Loutzenheiser, a Payson High alumnus, former PHS head boys basketball coach and assistant football coach, has turned over his coaching reins and is now an assistant principal at North Moore High School in Robbins, N.C.
Loutzenheiser says he misses coaching, but his new job responsibilities keep him so busy he doesn’t spend a lot of time dwelling on sports.