PHS athletic director Don Heizer is quick to remind everyone that no admittance passes will be accepted at the Longhorn soccer team’s state opening-round tournament game at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 25 at Rumsey Park vs. Camp Verde.
Because the playoff clash is technically an Arizona Interscholastic Association game rather than a Payson High game, the AIA receives the gate receipts and does not accept season and staff passes. The admission fee is $8 for adults and $6 for adults.
Funneling of the state tournament admission prices to the AIA has long been a point of contention among fans who believe gate receipts, or at least a portion of them, should benefit the schools playing rather than the statewide organization.
That’s especially true during high school basketball state tournament games when hordes of fans of northern Arizona reservation schools pack gymnasiums around the state, generating thousands of dollars for the AIA but none for the schools involved.
Rendering the situation even more perplexing is that for playoff games at neutral sites, schools incur tremendous traveling costs but receive no compensation from gate receipts.
Last year, if a prep basketball team made it to the third round of the state tournament, the school would have to foot the bill for two trips to Prescott Valley which could include fuels costs and possibly lodging.
That’s a bundle of cash for a school like Payson High where district officials say they can’t afford to pay coaches’ salaries and instead pilfer their paychecks from Credit for Kids and sports club fund-raising.
Hoops on tap
With the highly successful Longhorn Basketball Academy, held Oct. 8 to 11 in Wilson Dome, now in the rear view mirror, the Town of Payson Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department is turning its attention to Start Smart Basketball, Biddy Basketball and Youth Basketball programs.
Start Smart is designed for children age 3 years to kindergarten began Oct. 20 and will continue Oct. 27, Nov. 3, 10 and 17 in Julia Randall Elementary School gymnasium.
The program teaches the basic motor skills needed to play basketball including dribbling, ball handing, passing, catching and shooting.
Biddy Basketball is designed for students in first and second grades and will be held the same Saturdays as Start Smart, also in JRE gym.
Biddy Basketball reinforces basic motor skills and fundamentals necessary to play organized basketball.
Parents are required to attend and participate in both Start Smart and Biddy Basketball.
Youth basketball is held over the course of three seasons for a trio of grade levels.
The 7th- and 8th-grade league will play games Oct. 26 to Dec. 8 in the Rim Country Middle School gymnasium.
The 5th- and 6th-grade league will be Dec. 8 to Jan. 26, also at RCMS. The 3rd- and 4th-grade league will be conducted Feb. 2 to March 11 in the JRE gym.
Players in all three leagues will receive a team T-shirt.
The fee for all the basketball programs from Start Smart to the 7th- and 8th-grade league is $30.
Many of current and former PHS basketball standouts began their careers playing in the town programs.
For more information, call the Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department at (928) 474-5242, ext. 7 or log on to: www.paysonrim country.com.