The winter sports of basketball and wrestling are winding down and Payson High School athletes and coaches are prepping for the spring season.
Longhorn baseball players tip-off the campaign under first-year coach Brian Young tomorrow, Feb. 13, when they travel to Winslow for a preseason scrimmage against coach Art Griffith’s Bulldogs.
On Saturday, Feb. 16, at a time to be announced soon, the team will hold a “Sunflower Seed” team scrimmage.
“Basically we will evenly divide up our players and scrimmage amongst our team,” Young said. “It will be a great opportunity for our younger guys who never end up getting some scrimmage time before the first jayvee game.”
The scrimmage is basically a take on the football “soap scrimmages” of past years when a bar of soap was an admission ticket. The players then used the soap for post practice showers.
“We are asking all fans who can support us to bring in sunflower seeds (as scrimmage admission) and those will be eaten by players throughout the season,” said Young.
The season begins in earnest Feb. 20 to 23 at the Fountain Hills Invitational tournament.
Search on for hoop foes
Cameron Davis and Mary McMullen are scouring the town looking for volunteers to help stage a benefit basketball game that will feature the visiting Harlem Ambassadors against a group of local players. The game will tip-off 7 p.m. April 30 in Wilson Dome. Proceeds from the game will support scholarships for Gila Community College students and Town of Payson Parks, Recreation and Tourism programs.
For the benefit, McMullen and Davis are in need of four teams of five persons each.
Each of the teams will play one quarter vs. the Ambassadors and two of the quarters will be competitive play and the other two more for fun and entertainment.
For one of the competitive quarters vs. the Ambassadors, Davis — the director of the Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department — is hoping the men’s team that emerges victorious from the town-sponsored men’s basketball league will participate.
McMullen envisions local coaches, whether they be from youth leagues, Rim Country Middle School or Payson High School, form a team in either the fun or competitive quarters.
Both would like to see some persons who might be considered local “celebrities” put together a team.
The only prerequisite for participating is that the team members have some playing ability and know the nuances of the game.
In addition to needing the players, McMullen and Davis are also searching the Rim Country for basketball officials and coaches for each of the teams.
The officials do not have to be AIA certified, but should have a strong knowledge of the sport.
To participate either as a player, coach or official, there is a $165 application fee.
Both McMullen and Davis are encouraging potential participants to seek out local businesses or organizations as sponsors.
Applications to participate on the Payson teams can be found at www.paysonrimcountry.com/ ParksRec.aspx.