Girls Rebound To Roll Over Cougars 41-8

Blue Ridge edges PHS by 2

Players try to come up with a loose ball in Payson’s win over Show Low on Saturday night.

Players try to come up with a loose ball in Payson’s win over Show Low on Saturday night. |

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Payson’s Sadie Dunman battles a Show Low player for the ball as Arianna Paulson looks on Saturday night.

Payson’s girls basketball team needed a lift.

After losing back-to-back nail-biters, the Longhorns wanted something to feel positive about.

Show Low provided them with plenty of that on Saturday night at Wilson Dome as PHS rolled over the Cougars 41-8.

Sure, Show Low’s won just two games this season. But beating any opponent is good after the Horns watched Goodyear Estrella Foothills win on their gym in overtime on Tuesday, then witnessed Blue Ridge rally from a three-point halftime deficit to nip them 41-39 in Lakeside on Thursday.

“We’ve been working on intensity,” said PHS coach Jennifer White. “We have a tendency to be either intense in the first half or the second half, but never all the way through. They did it tonight. Their defense was exceptional. I’m really proud of them. They did a great job.”

White said even beating a team with a 2-15 record like Show Low is rewarding for the players.

“A win’s a win,” she said. “It’s good for their overall morale. It’s not so much the win, but the fact that they could hold them to eight points says a lot about how they can play defensively if they want to.”

Harley Turney scored 11 points to lead the Longhorns against Show Low. Arianna Paulson added eight points and Arissa Paulson seven.

PHS scored the game’s first 20 points before the Cougars got on the board with 5:32 left in the first half. The Longhorns led 28-2 at halftime and 31-2 before Show Low scored its first field goal with 3:02 left in the third quarter. It was a 37-4 game entering the final quarter, which featured a running clock. PHS led 40-4 before the visitors scored the game’s final four points.

Both teams are in Section IV of Division III. But only one of the games against each of the other teams in the section count in the section standings. The game at Blue Ridge two days earlier was Payson’s section opener.

Arianna Paulson led PHS with nine points against Blue Ridge. Cori Barnett and Tessa Hintze added eight points apiece. Mackenzie Jordan scored a game-high 14 points to pace Blue Ridge (10-8).

White said it’s another game that the Horns let slip away.

“We lost by two right at the very end,” the coach said. “It’s the same thing, we just lose our intensity. So that’s something we have to work on.

“We let them have shots. I mean, we should have beaten that team easy. But it’s up to them. And when they figure out how to put it all together, like we’ve been saying since the beginning of the year, they’re going to be very good. We just have to get all the pieces together. It’s getting all those pieces together at the same time — that’s what we’re working on.”

The pieces may be falling into place. One of the most positive aspects of Saturday’s win was the fact that senior forward Savannah Grassel returned from a knee injury that’s plagued her all season and sidelined her for several games.

“We were excited to have her back out today,” White said. “She’s been practicing since (Wednesday), but to get her back into a game is good. She’s a key piece of our team. So it’s good to have her back.”

Grassel is thrilled to be back in action.

“It feels really good to be back,” she said after the game. “But, of course, after being out for like two weeks, I’m out of shape. So it’s hard. But it’s really nice to be back out there.”

Grassel said it was difficult to sit and watch her team lose close games with Estrella Foothills and Blue Ridge.

“It’s been pretty frustrating because the last couple of games it wasn’t like our normal team,” she said. “We had a couple of off days. I want to go out there and be part of it and help out. So it was pretty difficult having to sit the bench and not be playing.”

PHS is 7-10 overall and 4-4 in games counting in the power rankings, which leaves them at No. 31 in the Division III power rankings. The Longhorns return to Section IV action at 6 p.m. today at Holbrook against a 15-4 Roadrunners team that is (7-1 in power rankings games and No. 5 in Div. III). The Roadrunners lead Section IV.

The Longhorns visit Cottonwood Mingus at 5:30 p.m. Thursday. They get a rematch with Blue Ridge at 6 p.m. Monday at Payson before entertaining Fountain Hills next Tuesday at 6 p.m.

Thursday, Jan. 9

Blue Ridge 41, Payson 39

Payson 39 – Tessa Hintze 3 0-0 8, Harley Turney 3 0-0 6, Cori Barnett 4 0-0 8, Arianna Paulson 3 2-3 9, Arissa Paulson 1 4-6 6, Sara Novack 1 0-0 2. Totals 15 6-9 39.

Blue Ridge 41 – Jamie Truax 1 0-0 2, D. Irins 0 0-0 0, Lita Henry 2 1-1 6, Teanna Young 3 0-1 6, Jayda Hinton 2 0-0 5, Julie Brazil 0 0-0 0, M. Jordan 3 8-9 14, Kiana Carroll 3 0-0 8, Jamie Truax 1 0-0 2, Angel Carroll 0 0-0 0. Totals 15 9-11 43.

Payson 6 11 11 11 — 39

Blue Ridge 4 10 14 13 — 41

3-point goals – P: Hintze 2, Arianna Paulson. BR: Henry, Hinton, K. Carroll 2.

Saturday, Jan. 11

Payson 41, Show low 8

Show Low 8 – Taylor Reidhead 1 0-1 3, Sierra Reidhead 0 0-0 0, Nancy Varela 1 0-1 2, Whitney Reidhead 0 1-2 1, Lindsay Frost 0 0-0 0, Su. Reidhead 0 0-0 0, Michelle McVeigh 0 1-2 1, O. Naron 0 0-0 0, Stevie Studo 0 1-2 1, Madison Maxwell 0 0-0 0. Totals 2 3-8 8.

Payson 41 – Tessa Hintze 2 0-0 4, Harley Turney 5 1-2 11, Cori Barnett 2 2-6 6, Arianna Paulson 3 2-2 8, Arissa Paulson 3 1-3 7, Sara Novack 2 0-1 4, Taylor Vaughn 0 0-2 0, Sadie Dunman 0 1-2 1, Savannah Grassel 0 0-0 0. Totals 17 7-18 41.

Payson 14 14 9 4 — 41

Show Low 0 2 2 4 — 8

3-point goals – SL: T. Reidhead. P: none.

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