The Longhorns boys basketball team enjoyed revenge of sorts on Jan. 3 whipping a visiting Snowflake Lobo team, 79-69, that had bested Payson, 49-38 just weeks earlier.
Among those players reveling in the victory was 6-foot, 5-inch senior power forward Tanner Hintze who called the triumph, “A big win for us.”
The victory improved the Horns’ record to 7-8 and has the team on a modest two-game winning streak.
PHS coach Joe Sanchez was equally as elated as Hintze, saying to the best of knowledge the current group of seniors has never beaten the Lobos.
The coach went on to credit the victory to the strategy of, “Pushing the ball on offense and stopping their penetration” when the Horns were on defense
Also, he added, “We know their offense and the players finally realized how to defend it.”
Individually, Sanchez cited Hintze for his spirited play that included scoring a game high 26 points.
From the free throw line, he was an impressive 10-for-12.
“They kept fouling me and I kept going to the free throw line,” Hintze said.
His yeoman-like work, however, wasn’t just on the offensive end.
“Tanner was determined and played great defense on their big guy, No. 31 (Reggie Peterson),” said Sanchez.
In addition to Hintze’s scoring, he contributed five rebounds, three assists, one block and one steal.
Following the game, Hintze said the win had extra meaning because, “It always nice to beat a former teammate.”
He was referring to Lobo senior Chase Walden who was a budding three-sport star at Payson High before moving to Snowflake three years ago.
As good as Hintze was on the evening, he had help from senior shooting guard Guillermo Lopez and Bubba Nielson.
Lopez finished with 21 points, 15 of which came from behind the three-point arc.
“We were forcing the ball down low and when they collapsed on defense we kicked it out to the open man, which was sometimes Guillermo,” said Sanchez.
Lopez also contributed a fine all-around floor game to the win recording four rebounds, three assists and a blocked shot.
Nielson finished with 10 points that included a pair of three pointers.
The long range shooting, which featured eight three-points, was one of the Longhorns finest this season.
Although Justin Carlen wasn’t a big time offensive threat with six points, he was a workhorse corralling a team-high 10 rebounds.
Austin Young (five points), Ray Lott (four points) and Ty Davis (four points) rounded out the Longhorn scoring attack.
Although committing 10 turnovers might not be the mark Sanchez is hoping for down the road, it is a relatively acceptable number considering the season is still young and players are acclimating themselves to one another and the game overall.
The Longhorns return to the Wilson Dome court at 7 p.m. today, Jan. 8, to take on Show Low, which like Snowflake, is a longtime rival from the years all three teams were members of the now defunct 3A East region.
Show Low will arrive in Payson sporting an 8-7 record and buoyed by the play of sophomore point guard Sean Potter, also the team’s leading scorer averaging 10.6 ppg.