Season-Ending Games To Decide Postseason Fate


Lanie O’Donnell looks to pass inside against a Fountain Hills opponent.

Lanie O’Donnell looks to pass inside against a Fountain Hills opponent. Photo by Andy Towle. |

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Let’s play a game of “What if?”

As in what if the Division III, Section III basketball tournaments were to be seeded this morning, Feb. 1, rather than over the weekend when all the regular season results are in?

As of today, the Lady Longhorns would advance to the S-III tournament as a No. 5 seed due to the team’s 12-5 power points record and play No. 4 Buckeye (13-3) at 5:45 p.m. at Valley Vista High School in Surprise.

Should the Lady Horns beat Buckeye, they would move to a second round game at 6 p.m. Feb. 8 at Valley Vista The opponent would the winner of a first round game pitting No. 1 Valley Christian against No. 8 River Valley.

Since the S-III tournament is single elimination, a loss to Buckeye, however, would send the Lady Longhorns packing home.

Should Payson reach the sectional championship, it would be played 5:45 p.m. Feb. 9 at Valley Vista.

The supposed first round scenario, however, is pure speculation because the Lady Longhorns have one final game to be played tonight, Friday, against the Show Low Cougars.

The results of that game and others around the section could make a difference in the power point rankings and change the sectional tournament seedings.

Boys’ prospects

The boys’ hopes of finishing among the top eight teams in S-III probably hinge on the results of tonight’s game in Show Low.

As of power point rankings compiled Jan. 30, the Horns are sitting ninth with a 6-10 record.

Which means, to advance to the postseason, Payson must move up a least one spot when the final rankings are compiled this weekend. To do that, PHS must overtake eighth-ranked Northwest Christian with its 7-9 record and a power point ranking of -0.312. The Horns are -0.3234.

Whether PHS can rally past Northwest Christian will depend on results of Payson’s game vs. Show Low and NC’s season finale last evening, Jan. 31, vs. North Pointe Prep.

Earlier this season, North Pointe Prep beat NC, 57-44.

Payson chances for a win today over Show Low are anyone’s guess because the two teams appear to be evenly matched.

On Jan. 8, the Cougars hung a gutwrenching 77-76 loss on PHS team that battled to the wire before being nipped.

Somewhat ironically, the PHS basketball teams have been playing since Nov. 20, 2012 but in all that time, nothing has been settled.

Neither team will know its postseason fate until the results of tonight’s games are in and AIA officials huddle to finalize tournament seedings.

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