Girls On Outside Of State Tournament Looking In

PHS needs to leapfrog 3 teams

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Tessa Hintze (5) gives Harley Turney an enthusiastic high-five in a timeout during Payson’s win over Blue Ridge on Monday night.

The top 24 teams in the power rankings qualify for the Division III girls basketball state tournament.

At No. 27 as of Wednesday morning, Payson finds itself on the outside looking in.

But the 8-13 Longhorns only need to leapfrog three teams to put themselves in a playoff spot.

With four of their remaining six opponents ahead of them in the rankings, the playoffs remain well within reach.

PHS plays at No. 22 Snowflake (9-8) tonight against a Lobos team the Longhorns have already beaten.

But then it gets more difficult. They host No. 12 Alchesay (15-7) on Tuesday and No. 4 Winslow (13-4) on Thursday.

They’re at No. 26 Round Valley (9-13) on Jan. 31 and at No. 54 Show Low (2-18) on Feb. 4 before closing the regular season with a home game against No. 47 Globe (5-15) on Feb. 6.

The top four teams in Section IV qualify for the section tournament on Feb. 11 and 15 at Show Low, with the tournament champion earning one of six automatic state tournament berths.

PHS players got a confidence boost with a 53-40 home court win over No. 24 Blue Ridge on Monday night to avenge a two-point loss in Lakeside on Jan. 9.

Arissa Paulson scored 17 points and snared 12 rebounds as the Longhorns shot 43 percent (21 of 49) from the field. Harley Turney added 10 points and three assists, Arianna Paulson had nine points, seven rebounds, six assists and two steals, Tessa Hintze scored nine points and Cori Barnett chipped in five points and eight rebounds.

But No. 7 Fountain Hills came to town and beat PHS 51-34 the next night. The Falcons, who also beat the Horns 49-30 at Fountain Hills on Dec. 13, jumped out to an 18-6 lead after one quarter and were up 45-20 entering the fourth quarter.

Arissa Paulson had another double-double, scoring 17 points and grabbing 16 boards. She also blocked two shots and came up with two steals. Turney scored six points, came up with five steals and dished out two assists. Hintze chipped in five points, three assists and two steals and Cori Barnett grabbed seven rebounds.

PHS had 25 turnovers, shot 33 percent (15 of 45) from the field and made just four of 17 free throws.

Payson 53, Blue Ridge 40

Blue Ridge 40 — Julie Brazel 0 0-0 0, Jade Cosay 0 2-2 2, Peyton Skidmore 0 0-0 0, Lita Henry 0 0-0 0, Teanna Young 1 0-0 2, Jayda Hinton 0 2-4 2, Mackenzie Jordan 4 4-6 12, Kiana Carroll 3 0-2 7, Jamie Truax 1 1-1 3, Angel Carroll 1 2-2 4, Mia Tessay 4 0-0 8. Totals 14 11-17 40.

Payson 53 — Tessa Hintze 4 0-0 9, Harley Turney 5 0-0 10, Cori Barnett 2 1-2 5, Arianna Paulson 4 1-6 9, Arissa Paulson 5 7-10 17, Sara Novack 1 0-0 2, Taylor Vaughn 0 0-0 0, Sadie Dunman 0 0-0 0, Savannah Grassel 0 1-2 1. Totals 21 10-20 53.

Blue Ridge 8 11 8 13 – 40

Payson 19 15 8 11 – 53

3-point goals — BR: K. Carroll. P: Hintze.

Fountain Hills 51, Payson 34

Payson 34 — Tessa Hintze 1 3-4 5, Harley Turney 3 0-3 6, Cori Barnett 1 0-3 2, Arianna Paulson 2 0-2 4, Arissa Paulson 8 1-5 17, Sara Novack 0 0-0 0, Sadie Dunman 0 0-0 0, Savannah Grassel 0 0-0 0. Totals 15 4-17 34.

Fountain Hills 18 14 13 6 – 51

Payson 6 5 9 14 – 34

3-point goals — P: none.

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