Kain England got just about all he could want on his 18th birthday.
The 6-foot-5 senior had a lot to celebrate after leading Payson’s boys basketball team to a 64-28 rout of visiting Camp Verde in the home opener at Wilson Dome on Tuesday night.
England scored a career-high 27 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in a dominating performance in the paint in front of a small crowd as the Longhorns improved to 5-2 overall with a lopsided victory in the first games that count in the all-important power rankings.
“Kain England pretty much led us in every category,” Payson coach Joe Sanchez said. “He showed his leadership physically and vocally. And our guards did a good job of feeding him the ball.”
PHS opened the year with a 4-2 record in the Sedona Red Rock Hoops Classic. Tournament games don’t count in the power rankings.
England gave a hint of how instrumental he could be for the Longhorns during that three-day event by averaging 8.8 points and making the all-tournament team. He had a double-double with 18 points and 17 rebounds against the host Scorpions on Friday.
But he easily eclipsed that offensive production against the Cowboys by sinking 12 of his 19 shots from the field (63 percent). He did nearly all of his damage in the first half as the Longhorns cruised to a 44-10 lead by intermission. Sanchez substituted liberally in the second half.
England, who sat out his junior season, scored 10 in the first quarter to lead the Horns to a 18-2 lead. He added 14 in the second period and three in the third before sitting in the final quarter.
When asked about his performance, the wiry, spectacle-wearing center credited point guard Austin Young and Chaz Davis for their ability to pass him the ball near the basket.
“The guards did a good job of getting the ball inside,” he said.
Chaz Davis contributed 14 points for Payson. He bagged 10 points in the first half, including seven in the first quarter. He sank five out of six shots from the field. He dished out three assists, grabbed three rebounds and came away with two steals.
Young had five points, five assists, four rebounds and two steals. Jared Varner chipped in six points, six rebounds and two steals.
“It’s just really exciting for us to do this,” said England, who also blocked a shot. “We’re off to a good start. It’s pretty awesome. We all put in the work all summer.”
Javier Perez scored seven of his 11 points in the second half to lead Camp Verde.
It kicked off a big week at home for the Longhorns, who were also scheduled to play host to Cottonwood Mingus on Thursday before entertaining Fountain Hills tonight.
PHS shot 49 percent (25 of 51) from the field.
With the game all but wrapped up by halftime, Sanchez told his players to continue to focus on defense in the final two quarters.
“We preach defense,” Sanchez said. “We wanted to hold them under 30 points and it was a team effort to do that.”
Payson 64, Camp Verde 28
Camp Verde 28 — Javier Perez 2 6-12 11, Javin Casillo 1 2-4 4, Marlon Ontiveros 2 2-3 6, Tyler Dickey 1 0-0 2, Adrian Cuevas 1 0-0 2, J. Arvey 0 0-0 0, O Dion Fortune 0 0-0 0, Reyes Herrera 0 1-2 1, Thomas Herrera 1 0-0 2, Drake Smith 0 0-0 0. Totals 8 11-21 28.
Payson 64 — Austin Young 1 3-4 5, Chaz Davis 5 4-5 14, Spencer Herrera 2 0-0 4, Matt Davis 1 0-0 3, Kain England 12 3-4 27, Jared Varner 2 2-2 6, Ruben Estrada 0 0-0 0, Darren Moffett 0 0-0 0, Braden Hancock 0 0-1 0, Ryan Wacker 0 1-2 1, Jacob Dixon 0 0-0 0, Hunter Harrison 1 0-0 2, William Youngberg 1 0-0 2. Totals 25 13-18 64.
Camp Verde 2 8 12 6 — 28
Payson 18 26 16 4 — 64
3-point goals — CV: J. Perez. P: M. Davis.