Girls Crash Section Tournament Hoops Party

PHS also headed to state tourney

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Payson’s Arianna Paulson hugs head coach Jennifer White during the senior night ceremony after Thursday’s win over Globe.

A state tournament berth was a long shot for Payson’s girls basketball team a couple of weeks ago.

The Longhorns were No. 28 in the power rankings that determine the seeding for the Division III state tournament.

But they knocked off then-No. 11 Whiteriver Alchesay 44-36 on Jan. 28 and won four of their final five games to put themselves in great position to qualify.

Now, at No. 20 in the power rankings, PHS is a lock to make the 24-team state tournament field, although the brackets won’t be announced until after the six section tournaments, which begin today and end Saturday.

The Longhorns earned the fourth and final seed in the Section IV Tournament at Show Low thanks to the win over Alchesay, which broke the tie for fourth place in the standings.

“I’m so proud of them,” said PHS head coach Jennifer White after her team’s 54-20 win over Globe in the regular-season finale at home on Thursday. “We’ll be in (the state tournament), so that’s good. So we’re just ready for that and we’re excited.”

The Horns face section regular-season champion Winslow, the No. 2 team in the state power rankings, in the section tournament semifinals tonight at 7 o’clock. Second-place Snowflake meets third-place Holbrook in the other semifinal. The championship game is at 5 p.m. Saturday at Show Low, followed by the boys championship game at 7.

The tournament champion earns an automatic state tournament bid and one

of the top six seeds. The top eight seeds earn first-round byes.

Winslow handed Payson its only loss in its last five games 56-35 at Payson on Jan. 30.

PHS rebounded to beat Eagar Round Valley 52-37 the next night and move up to No. 18 in the rankings.

They slipped to No. 19 despite beating Show Low 46-9 on Feb. 4 and fell another spot after dominating Globe. It was an emotional day for the team’s seniors on senior night.

“It didn’t really hit me until we started warming up,” said guard Harley Turney, who scored 12 points, dished out five assists and added four steals. “I’m just glad I had the opportunity to play with these girls.”

Senior point guard Arianna Paulson scored eight points and came up with five steals.

“It was a little sad because it’s my last game,” she said. “But it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. It was really fun. I just really enjoyed having a good last outing at home with my team.”

Savannah Grassel had to spend the night watching the game from the bench once again thanks to a season-ending knee injury suffered a couple of weeks ago.

“It was really emotional,” she said. “I thought I was not going to cry. But walking out there it finally hit me that that was the last time I was going to be stepping out on that court. It’s been hard not even being able to get to play. Still, even though I wasn’t able to play today, it was just like really hard to be out there. But it’s been such a great experience. I’m just happy that I’ve gotten to be involved with it for so long.”

Sophomore Arissa Paulson scored a game-high 18 points and pulled down 12 of Payson’s 36 rebounds. Sophomore Tessa Hintze scored eight points and grabbed eight rebounds. Junior Cori Barnett had six points and eight rebounds.

Globe scored 13 points in the first quarter but just seven the rest of the game, including three in the entire second half as PHS built a huge lead that mercifully started a running clock.

“They played great,” White said of her players. “They did exactly what we asked them to do. We let them score 17 points in the first half but we let them score one point in the third quarter and three in the second half, so you can’t be upset with that.

“I’m really proud of them. We adjusted some things at halftime that we were doing on our press and they came out and fixed it.”

Div. III Section IV

Girls Basketball

Final standings

Section PR Games

W L GB W L PR

Winslow 8 0 — 16 2 2

Snowflake 7 1 1 12 6 14

Holbrook 6 2 2 13 5 9

Payson 4 4 4 9 9 20

Alchesay 4 4 4 12 6 17

Round Valley 3 5 5 9 9 26

Blue Ridge 3 5 5 8 10 31

Globe 1 7 7 5 13 48

Show Low 0 8 8 1 17 54

PR-Power ranking

Section Tournament at Show Low

Tuesday

Semifinals

No. 3 Holbrook vs. No. 2 Snowflake, 5:15

No. 4 Payson vs. No. 1 Winslow, 7 p.m.

Saturday

Championship

5 p.m.

Payson 54, Globe 20

Globe 20 — Savannah Barajas 0 0-2 0, Jordyn Chidester 1 3-8 5, Jolene Quitano 2 0-0 4, Dusty Mallow 0 1-2 1, Raeanna Antonio 3 0-0 8, Trinity Jones 0 0-0 0, Cedar Williams 0 0-0 0, Hailey Williams 1 0-0 2, Jerrica Hatch 0 0-0 0, Keanna Moses 0 0-0 0. Totals 7 4-12 20.

Payson 54 — Tessa Hintze 4 0-0 8, Harley Turney 6 0-0 12, Cori Barnett 3 0-4 6, Arianna Paulson 4 0-0 8, Arissa Paulson 7 4-6 18, Sara Novack 0 0-0 0, Taryn North 0 0-0 0, Sadie Dunman 1 0-0 2, Taylor Vaughn 0 0-0 0. Totals 25 4-10 54.

Globe 13 4 1 2 — 20

Payson 19 15 14 6 — 54

3-point goals —G: Antonio 2. P: none.

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