All a one-point loss to Arizona College Prep on Dec. 3 did was guarantee Payson’s girls basketball team wasn’t going to go undefeated.

Everybody knew that wasn’t happening.

So, no big deal.

But it did something else, too.

Watching an opponent rally to win after Payson built a double-digit lead does something to you. It did something to the Longhorns, who came out Tuesday night against Chino Valley ready to finish the job.

And that’s what Payson did in a 70-34 blowout victory at Wilson Dome.

Payson coach Miles Huff was happy to see his team bounce back from the disappointing finish against ACP.

“That’s a bump in the road,” he said of the previous game. “I don’t think that changes anything, our expectations, what we’re looking for in this team.”

It’s a loss the Horns learned from.

“That’s part of learning how to win,” Huff said. “Coach White and I have talked about how we’ve had two tough years and these girls, we have to learn how to win.

“I think last Friday was just a result of not being used to closing out games and winning games. But we bounced back and we’re happy with where we’re at.”

White and Cline

Seniors Cadence White and Kayla Cline took turns leading the way as Payson dominated from the start.

White exploded for 12 of her career-high 19 points in the first quarter to power the Longhorns to 19-9 lead after eight minutes.

Cline took over in the second quarter, scoring 10 of her 15 points in the frame to help the home team outscore CV 20-9 and build a commanding 39-18 halftime lead.

The Longhorns expanded the lead in the second half, outscoring the visitors 13-5 in the third quarter and closing with an 18-11 fourth-quarter featuring scoring from seven Longhorns.

Nine Longhorns scored in the game.

Rylee Carnes and Magdalene Whaley added seven points apiece, and Brianna Marinelli and Trinity Glasscock chipped in six points each. Emmy Whaley and Lizzy White added four points each, with Madisyn Morgan scoring two points.

Dominating the glass

Payson owned the boards, out-rebounding Chino Valley 62-37. Marinelli grabbed 10, Cline nine, Glasscock and M. Whaley eight each and C. White seven.

“In flashes we were completely dominant on the rebounds,” Huff said. “We had certain spurts where we got every rebound, offensively and defensively. You can see when we do that, we’re a pretty tough team to handle. With our size when we can control the rebounds I think it changes the game.”

Cline said the 41-40 loss to ACP four days earlier motivated the Longhorns to play better.

“That was a really close game,” Cline said as she shook her head.

“We were really really frustrated because we knew we could have got the dub, we could have won because we know that we are a better team than them because we have communication, we have bigs, we have many people who can score.

“We just needed to talk a little bit more and work it out and that’s what we did today.”

Cline said she loves the chemistry of this team.

“When we lose a game, we don’t get down on each other,” she explained. “If we miss a shot, we don’t get down on each other. We’ll just keep lifting each other up and we’re not gonna push each other down. We just stick together.”

Marinelli and White had four steals each. Cline and Glasscock dished out four assists each and Cline had three steals.

CV (1-4) entered the game fresh off a 42-24 win at Flagstaff Northland Prep that snapped a season-opening three-game losing streak.

Camp Verde here on Tuesday

The Longhorns (2-1) are idle tonight and return to action with their fourth home game to open the season against Camp Verde (4-2 overall, 1-0 power points games) on Tuesday.

It kicks off a busy week that features a game at Heber Mogollon on Thursday, Dec. 16 and a tournament at the same school on Dec. 17-18.

Huff likes where his team is at heading into the Camp Verde game.

“Getting over the last game was tough,” the coach said. “That was a tough one on everybody. Bouncing back like that and really taking care of everything we needed to was huge.

“And I think winning a game like this is major going into a game like Camp Verde. Camp Verde is always a good team. Coach (Mark) Showers has won a lot of basketball games.

“They’re always tough to beat. So leading into that with this was huge for us.”

Contact the reporter at kmorris@payson.com

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