COTTONWOOD - Improving to a (3-0) power point record, the Mingus boys basketball team defeated the Payson Longhorns, 60-52, Tuesday in Cottonwood. Senior point guard Rashonn Montgomery led the Marauders with 26 points and five assists, knocking down five 3-pointers in the game.
In two previous non-tournament games Mingus started slow, but against the Longhorns they scored 17 and held Payson to just 4 points in the first quarter. The visiting team did not give in to Mingus' explosive start -- they weathered the storm, fought back, and took the lead in the second half.
In the fourth quarter it was anybody's game. Mingus tightened up their defense and Montgomery made sure his team came out on top, knocking down two key 3-point shots and scoring 15 in the final period.
"We were able to buckle down and get back-to-back stops in key moments of the game, and we capitalized on scoring opportunities down the stretch. Down four in the fourth quarter, I thought our team showed tremendous resolve and guts to get this win tonight," said Mingus head coach Mark Owens. "Our guys believed in each other and trusted the system and the game plan that we had for them. You could see it in their eyes; they knew they were going to win. It was a sight to see."
An engaged hometown crowd gave the Marauders a lift from the jump, creating a real home court advantage. During Payson's lineup introduction a dozen Mingus supporters buried their heads in copies of the Verde Independent to comically convey disinterest in the Longhorn players. They sustained a rousing cheer throughout the contest while the Red & Gray gave them something to cheer about.
When Montgomery's shot is falling teams key on him, but when frontcourt players like Alex Brewer, Fransisco Romero, and Troy Carter combine to score 24 points, defenses have a tough time finding an answer.
The 8-point win over Payson is even bigger for the Marauders considering they were without senior scorer Clancy Odegard.
Now (5-3) overall, Mingus looks to improve their record at home against Cactus Shadows next Tuesday, Dec. 11.
Key Stats against Payson
Rashonn Montgomery: 26 points, 5 assists
Alex Brewer: 10 points, 6 rebounds
Fransisco Romero: 8 points, 7 rebounds
Micah Nevarez: 6 points, 4 steals, 3 assists, 2 blocks
Troy Carter: 6 points, 4 rebounds
Tied, 29-29, to start the fourth quarter, the Mingus girls basketball team scored just six points in the final period and lost, 40-35. Until that point Mingus played a balanced game with great hustle and solid defense, but the Longhorns fought hard throughout the game and manufactured a quality road win.
Payson's No. 44 Chioya Hill secured 26 rebounds, blocks six shots, and scored 10 points to lead the Longhorns to victory.
Mingus plays next away against Cactus Shadows Tuesday, Dec. 11.