Phoenix Suns play-by-play announcer Al McCoy was known for his catch phrases that included “Shazam!” every time a Suns player made a 3-point shot and “Heartbreak Hotel!” when a player missed a shot by a hair or Phoenix lost a close game.
If McCoy had been announcing the Payson vs. Show Low game Jan. 8 in Wilson Dome, “Heartbreak Hotel” would surely have lit up his broadcast.
That’s because, the Horns dropped a heartbreaker, 78-77, in overtime after a PHS player missed a last-second free throw that would have tied up the game and sent it into a second overtime.
On the missed shot, Payson’s Justin Carlen came within a whisper of corralling the rebound, but could never gain complete possession of the ball and get off a possible game-winning shot.
If there ever was a “Heartbreak Hotel” down at the end of Lonely St. in Payson, that game was it.
“That loss hurt,” said coach Joe Sanchez, who not only had an “L” added to his coaching resume but also wrestled with the flu all game long.
In the gut-wrenching loss, the Cougars took a 36-31 halftime head and continued to hold a 44-43 cushion in the third quarter.
While Show Low was able to take leads as large as eight points, Payson could never post more than a three-point difference. Every time the Cougars appeared to be pulling away, however, PHS players roared back into contention thanks in part to their junk yard dog fighting mentally.
At the end of regulation, the score was dead knotted 63-63 thanks in part to six fourth-quarter points from Ty Davis who came off the bench to score 12 in all.
“He was our spark,” Sanchez said.
Tanner Hintze, the team’s leading scorer, once again turned in a stellar showing on the offensive end with 20 points, most of which were scored against Show Low’s bigger front line.
Guillermo Lopez finished with 19 points but it was his eight assists and sparkplug-like contributions that got the entire team involved in the offense.
Bubba Nielson tallied 12 points and corralled nine rebounds. Hintze pounded the board for seven rebounds and Carlen had six.
The Horns return to action today, Jan. 11, against Mingus in Wilson Dome.
The Marauders own a win this season over the Horns, having beaten PHS 60-52 on Dec. 4.
In the defeat, the Horns were sometimes their own worst enemy, committing 19 turnovers.
If the team can improve ball security this evening, it would be a huge step toward a victory over the Division II Marauders.