Slip Sliding Away

Winslow rallies to beat Horns


It looked like Payson’s boys basketball team might just end its frustration last week.

After watching their losing streak reach seven games with Whiteriver Alchesay on Tuesday, the Longhorns jumped on top of visiting Winslow by 14 points in the second quarter on Thursday night. But the No. 11-ranked Bulldogs outscored PHS 39-22 in the second half, including 24-9 in the fourth quarter, to rally for a 68-61 victory.

PHS also led host Round Valley at intermission the next night before losing 58-51.

But that lead was only two points. It was much larger against Winslow, which made the loss more difficult to stomach.

The Longhorns led the Bulldogs 16-14 after eight minutes but were down 23-21 with 5:06 remaining in the second quarter. However, everything seemed to go right for the home team in a 4:14 stretch as they threatened to blow out Winslow with an 18-2 run that left them ahead 39-25 with 52 seconds to play in the half.

But the visitors scored the final four points of the half to cut the deficit to 10 points, chipped a couple more points off the margin in the third quarter, then finished strong to leave the Longhorns wondering what happened.


Payson’s Spencer Herrera gets some altitude against Winslow.

“That’s just our season,” said Payson coach Joe Sanchez after the Winslow loss. “We just can’t close out games. There’s always a quarter where we struggle and this was first time it was in the fourth quarter.”

PHS shot 42 percent (23 of 55) from the field, but 23 turnovers hurt the Horns.

Matt Davis scored 14 points and had four steals against Winslow. Chaz Davis chipped in 13 points, four assists and four rebounds. Kain England returned from an ankle injury that sidelined him the previous three games to score nine points and pull down eight of his team’s 34 rebounds. Austin Young also scored nine points to go with five rebounds and three steals. William Youngberg contributed five points and seven rebounds.

The Longhorns led 16-13 after eight minutes at Round Valley and were on top 27-25 at halftime. However, the Elks outscored them 16-6 in the pivotal third period to take an eight-point lead, 41-33, they wouldn’t relinquish.

RV won the game at the free-throw line. The Elks sank 19 of their 30 opportunities from the charity stripe, while the Long­horns made only four of 15.

PHS shot 44 percent (20 of 45) from the field. RV shot 35 percent (18 of 52) from the field.

Payson drained seven three-point baskets.

Chaz Davis scored 11 points. Matt Davis had 10 points and three steals. Ruben Estrada added nine points and William Youngberg eight points. England had five points, six rebounds, four steals and three assists. Young chipped in three points, eight rebounds, seven assists and three steals.

Round Valley held a 36-25 advantage on the boards. Payson had 17 turnovers, the Elks 15. Westen Ziegler led all scorers with 16 points for Round Valley. Tanner Bingham added 12 points.

The Longhorns play at Show Low (17-11) tonight at 7:30 before closing the season at home against Globe (6-17) at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

Although PHS has struggled to win games this season, the fact that the Longhorns have faced the third-toughest schedule in Division III, according to, makes it somewhat easier to accept. But there’s no getting around the fact that losing is difficult no matter who you’re playing.

“I’m excited that we’re not getting blown out,” Sanchez said. “But it’s tough physically and emotionally on these boys and the coaching staff to be in the games and just not being able to close them out. You see it in their faces after the games — they’re just drained. They put everything they could in it. They work their butts off. And then to lose it at the end, it’s tough on them. It’s tough on the coaches.”

Winslow 68, Payson 61

Payson 61 — Austin Young 3 2-3 9, Chaz Davis 4 3-4 13, Spencer Herrera 2 0-0 4, Matt Davis 6 0-0 14, Kain England 3 3-4 9, Ryan Wacker 1 0-0 2, Jacob Dixon 0 0-0 0, Jared Varner 2 1-2 5, William Youngberg 2 1-1 5. Totals 23 10-14 61.

Winslow 14 15 15 24 – 68

Payson 16 23 13 9 – 61

3-point goals — P: Young, C. Davis 2, M. Davis 2.

Round Valley 58, Payson 51

Payson 51 — Austin Young 1 0-1 3, Chaz Davis 4 1-2 11, Matt Davis 4 0-0 10, Ryan Ricke 0 0-0 0, Kain England 2 1-8 5, Ruben Estrada 3 2-2 9, Braden Hancock 1 0-0 2, Jacob Dixon 1 0-0 3, William Youngberg 4 0-2 8. Totals 20 4-15 51.

Round Valley 58 — Caleb Goodsell 2 4-6 8, Cade Moring 2 3-4 8, Tanner Bingham 4 4-8 12, Westen Ziegler 5 5-6 16, Tim Matthews 1 0-0 2, Mason Tresize 0 0-0 0, Ryan Udall 2 1-2 5, Arturo Pena 2 2-4 7. Totals 18 19-30 58.

Payson 16 11 6 18 – 51

Round Valley 13 12 16 17 – 58

3-point goals — P: Young, C. Davis 2, M. Davis 2, Estrada, Dixon. RV: Moring, Ziegler, Pena.


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