The Wilson Dome scoreboard told the story: Show Low 40, Payson 27.
Things weren’t going well for the boys basketball team three-quarters of the way through Saturday’s showdown with a strong Cougars team.
The home crowd didn’t have a lot to get excited about.
Boy, how things changed.
Sophomore Chaz Davis brought the crowd to its feet several times as he led a furious comeback bid that pulled the Longhorns within four points.
The guard sank four three-point baskets in the final quarter. His third trey of the period capped a 17-8 run that cut the deficit to 48-44, with 3:18 to play and turned the noise level up to 11. The atmosphere was electric as the Longhorns headed to the bench during a Show Low timeout.
“That was the loudest we’ve heard the Dome home crowd in a very long time and I truly believe we don’t make the comeback if it wasn’t for them,” said Payson head coach Joe Sanchez. “Our boys really fed off of that.”
Especially Davis, who later hit another shot from the perimeter to make it 56-52 with 21 seconds remaining in a game the visitors held on to win 58-52.
“I loved his confidence to take those big shots,” Sanchez said of Davis. “His teammates knew he was hot and were getting him the ball. He didn’t play like a sophomore. It was his best game, by far, all season.”
The youngster also led the offense with 16 points as the Longhorns shocked a 17-2 Blue Ridge team in Lakeside 56-48 two days earlier.
His emergence is a big reason the prospects appear bright for a 7-12 Payson squad.
The victory in Lakeside proved that the Longhorns can beat anybody when they play the way they’re capable of playing.
Saturday’s fourth-quarter offensive explosion showed what an exciting atmosphere Wilson Dome can be if the fans have something to cheer for.
The team is on the road this week.
But with a Blue Ridge squad looking to avenge last week’s loss headed to the Dome for a Monday night showdown, here’s hoping there’s a packed house ready to re-establish this place as the intimidating arena I’m sure it must have been during the 2007-08 season when the Longhorns reached the Class 3A state final.
It was loud inside the Dome on Saturday night and there were plenty of empty seats.
How about we fill this place Monday night?
And make sure to be there for the girls game at 6 p.m. because these young ladies are talented and will try to avenge a two-point loss at Lakeside. I can’t think of a better twin bill.
Let’s have some fun.