The Sweetwater boys basketball team slowly fought back Friday from a six-point deficit early in the fourth quarter ot its non-district game at Mustang Gym, finally taking a one-point lead (59-58) on a field goal by Tino Martinez that came with 1:32 left and capped an 11-4 surge. However, the Bearcats came back to score the gameâ€™s last five points and escape with a 63-59 victory.
Raymond Delgado of Bal-linger scored with 1:13 left to regain the lead, 60-59, and the Bearcats were able to secure the win with three free throws in the last 50 seconds, the last coming after Dylan Bennett missed on a potential game-tying three-pointer with about 10 seconds remaining.
With the loss, Sweet-waterâ€™s record fell to 9-13 with just one game left before starting District 5-3A play this Friday by hosting Wylie. But there were some positives for the Mustangs, who travel to San Angelo Lake View Tuesday. The 59 points equalled the second-highest one-game total of the season, following a season-high 64 points against Roby three days earlier. In fact, the teamâ€™s three highest scoring totals have come in the last four games.
Sweetwater started well Friday, opening up an 18-14 lead after one quarter and leading Ballinger by as much as eight points in the second quarter before settling for a four-point (35-31) lead at halftime.
But the Bearcats came out hot in the third quarter, regaining the lead (38-36) early in the period and increasing it to seven, 48-41, a few minutes later.
It was 51-46 at the start of the fourth quarter and 54-48 with 5:51 left when Ballingerâ€™s Lane Carter hit a trey, before the Mustangs made their final run. Taylor Jones and Martinez scored to tie it at 54-54 and 57-57 before Martinez finally re-gained the lead, but Sweet-water â€” which was trying for its fifth victory in its last six games â€” was unable to score again.
Kaleb Hoover, Sweetwa-terâ€™s 6-2 sophomore post, and Jones both scored 13 points to lead the Mustangs but neither could match the Bearcatsâ€™ tandem of Carter (24) and Delgado (21), who combined for 45 of their teamâ€™s points. Carter had 15 of his total in the second half and Delgado 12, and Carterâ€™s free throw with 2.8 seconds left clinched it.
â€śThey did a good job of keeping the ball in (Carterâ€™s) hands,â€ť said coach Al Hunt, â€śand we had a couple of possessions that cost us. We had too many turnovers (Sweetwater finshed the game with 26). We play Lake View Tuesday nd we need to play well.â€ť
Eight different Mustangs scored Friday. Bennett had nine points and Martinez and Dylon Adames seven, while Gabe Medellin and Isaiah McGee each finished with four points and Anth-ony Palacios two. Bennett, like Hoover, is a sophomore while McGee is a freshman. Hoover had 11 rebounds and Adames seven, while Jones led the team with seven assists.