An 8-21 season wasn’t what the Longhorns envisioned before the start of the boys basketball season.
But despite the losing record, the season had its high points.
Payson upset Blue Ridge and put up a good fight in several other games in which it ultimately came up just short.
Coach Joe Sanchez also took pride in senior point guard Austin Young’s recognition on the Arizona Interscholastic Association Division III All-Section IV Boy Basketball Second Team in voting by coaches at aia365.com.
Young led the Longhorns in scoring (9.9 average), assists (3.2) and steals (2.7) and was third in rebounding (3.7).
“If you ask Austin, it was a frustrating and disappointing season individually for the team,” Sanchez said. “But I think the other coaches recognized the hard work he put in for four years at Payson. Coaches commented on that to me, saying he’s been a solid player in our program.”
He played freshman, junior varsity and varsity teams as a freshman and served as the varsity’s sixth man as a sophomore before moving into a starting role as a junior, splitting time between the shooting guard and point guard positions. He took over as the point guard this season and the Longhorns’ only returning starter set an example for younger teammates to follow.
“As far as being a senior leader, I feel like Austin has really set the bar for future Payson boys basketball players. He didn’t play other sports. He focused on the game. He made a commitment the last four years and was working out all the time. I think some of our other younger athletes are ready to take it to the next level and Austin showed what that commitment looks like.”
In addition to running the offense at the point, Sanchez said Young also provided leadership on the other side of the ball in his senior season.
“Austin ended up being one of our most consistent defenders,” the coach said. “He wanted to guard the best player on the opposing team and he did very well. Westen Ziegler of Round Valley was the leading scorer in our section and Austin held him to 12 points in the first three quarters before we started fouling him in the fourth quarter when Austin wasn’t guarding him. He accepted that challenge and was one of our best defenders.”
Young hopes to play basketball in college and Sanchez said he should get that opportunity because schools are interested.
Div. III All-Section IV
Selected by coaches voting at aia365.com.
P Name School Year
G Westen Ziegler Round Valley Sr
G Sean Potter Show Low Jr
G Stevin Nelson Winslow Sr
G McKay Berges Blue Ridge Soph
F Chris Williams Blue Ridge Jr
C Jackson Jessop Show Low Sr
Player of the Year — Voting in progress
Coach of the Year — Andy Wood, Snowflake
P Name School Year
G Austin Young Payson Sr
G Keenan Keams Winslow Sr
G Sam Tate Show Low Jr
G Milland Thomas Winslow Sr
G Trelonnie Sanders Winslow Jr
F Daniel Brackney Show Low Sr