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C.J. Nottingham makes a great effort in the Horns’ 78-49 loss to Fountain Hills Jan. 31

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Fountain Hills dashes upset aspirations

A well-oiled Fountain Hills boys basketball team, ranked among the best in Division III, squashed Payson’s hopes of pulling off the upset of the season, whipping the Horns 78-49 on Jan. 31 in Wilson Dome. The visiting Falcons jumped out to a 22-9 lead in the first eight minutes; expanded it to 45-26 at halftime; and coasted to the win. In the loss, the Longhorns turned in one of their worst shooting nights of the season, hitting just 21 of their 61 attempts (34 percent). Cole Belcher was about the only Horn player to muster much offense, finishing with 13 points. Tanner Hintze, the team’s lead scorer, was held to nine points. Josh Oakley contributed six and Richard Neilson had five. Sometimes prep teams can make up for shooting woes by cashing in at the free throw line. But Payson drew just 10 fouls and hit five of the attempts, so the charity stripe was not much help. Some of the Horns’ setbacks can be attributed to a lack of offensive rebounding, which meant there weren’t many “put back” points. Not a single Payson player corralled more than one offensive rebound and, as a team, the Horns had just six.

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