Lady Longhorn basketball players travel today, Tuesday, Jan. 15, to Lakeside hoping to improve on their 9-6 record and garner the all-important power points that would come with a victory over the Blue Ridge Yellow Jackets.
Additional power points, if they come, would be a boon for the PHS team and its hopes of earning postseason berths in both the Division III and Section III tournaments.
In D-III point rankings, the Lady Horns are currently sitting No. 21 among 56 teams.
Blue Ridge is ranked No. 22 less than a point behind PHS.
In the Section III rankings, the Lady Horns are rated No. 6, which is good enough to earn the team a berth into the sectional tournament if it were held this week.
However, it won’t be played until Feb. 5 to 9 in Surprise and the rankings will change significantly by then depending on how the Lady Horns fare in their final eight games.
On Jan. 9, the Lady Horns’ power points cause took a hit in a 68-43 loss to Salt River in Wilson Dome. But two days later, also in the dome, PHS rebounded from the stunning defeat with a 57-41 win over the Mingus Marauders, a Division II team.
In the loss to Salt River, Payson fell behind 20-8 early in the game and trailed 38-14 at halftime.
In the second half, however, the Lady Horns were outscored only 30-29, but the hole the players had dug themselves in the first half was too deep to climb out of.
All evening long, the hot shooting of Salt River’s Briana Kewanwytewa kept PHS at bay.
The SR shooting star finished with 22 points, hitting 5-of-10 three-pointers.
For Payson, senior power forward Chioya Hill led all scorers with 14 points. Hill was also a fixture at the line hitting 8-of-11 free throws.
Freshman center Arissa Paulson tallied 11 points as did Alix Parker who was 3-of-5 from three-point land.
On the boards, Hill hauled down 11 rebounds and Arissa Paulson had nine.
The Lady Horns committed a whopping 25 fouls, but luck was on Payson’s side as SR made only 9-of-28 attempts.
In the win over Mingus, Arissa Paulson took game scoring honors with 15 points, seven of which came from the charity stripe. Her older sister, Arianna, tallied 13 and Hill tacked on 12 giving the Lady Horns three players in double digits.
In addition to Hill’s scoring, she had a night to write home about with 10 rebounds, eight steals, three assists and two blocked shots.
Parker was also a defensive demon with a team-high five steals.
In all, the Lady Horns had a fine defensive night with 18 steals and seven blocked shots.
After playing Blue Ridge today, the Lady Horns return to Payson for two days of practice to prepare for a revenge match against Salt River.
PHS travels Jan. 19 to Scottsdale to take on the Eagles on the charter school’s home court. Game time is 6 p.m.