Must-Win Games For Girls

PHS needs upset tonight

Payson senior point guard Arianna Paulson looks for an open teammate against the Blue Ridge double-team in the Longhorns’ 53-40 win on Jan. 20.

Payson senior point guard Arianna Paulson looks for an open teammate against the Blue Ridge double-team in the Longhorns’ 53-40 win on Jan. 20. Photo by Keith Morris. |

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Payson lost a crucial girls basketball game at Snowflake on Friday, falling to the host Lobos 45-34.

The Longhorns, who beat Snowflake 66-61 in overtime at Payson on Jan. 3, entered the game at No. 27 in the Division III power rankings. They slid to 5-8 in power ranking games and to No. 28 as of Monday morning. The top 24 teams all go to the state tournament, unless a team not ranked among the top 24 wins its sectional tournament. That could knock out of the postseason tournament both No. 24 and No. 23 if two teams outside the top-24 won section tournaments.

Snowflake was No. 24 entering the rematch, but improved to 7-5 in power ranking games and moved up to No. 18 in the rankings at 11-8 overall.

Desperate for a victory, PHS (8-14 overall) now enters tonight’s home game with No. 11 (as of Monday) Whiteriver Alchesay (10-4 power ranking games, 17-7 overall). A win over the Falcons would be a huge boost to the Longhorns’ chances of making the tournament. The top four teams in the section qualify for the Section IV tournament, which is set for Feb. 11 and 15 at Show Low.

Payson was No. 6 as of Sunday morning in the section, behind Winslow, Holbrook, Alchesay, Snowflake and Blue Ridge.

Payson also entertains No. 3 Winslow (11-2, 15-5) on Thursday in another big opportunity to move up the rankings.

The Longhorns may have to beat both Alchesay and the Bulldogs to reach the state tournament.

PHS closes the regular season at No. 29 Round Valley (5-8, 9-15) on Jan. 31, at No. 54 Show Low (1-13, 2-21) on Feb. 4 and at home against No. 46 Globe (5-9, 6-15) on Feb. 6.

Div. III Section IV Girls Basketball

Section PR Games

W L GB W L PR

Holbrook 5 0 - 11 2 4

Winslow 4 0 0.5 11 2 3

Snowflake 4 0 0.5 7 5 18

Alchesay 2 2 2.5 10 4 11

Blue Ridge 3 2 2 8 5 24

Globe 1 3 3.5 5 9 46

Payson 0 3 4 5 8 28

Round Valley 0 4 4.5 5 8 29

Show Low 0 5 5 1 13 54

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