Mustangs rally past Tigers for 1st district win

January 15, 2014

Sweetwater’s Michael Hunt struggles to put up a shot over a Snyder defender in Tuesday’s game at Mustang Gym. Hunt scored nine points in Sweetwater’s 45-40 victory over the Tigers. (Photo by Betsy Howe)

One team entered Tues-day’s boys district game 11-1 for the season while the other came in just 3-10.
But records don’t usually matter when Sweetwater and Snyder play, and this game at Mustang Gym was no different as Sweetwater — the team with just one loss — and Snyder traded leads all night. The fourth quarter began with Snyder holding a two-point lead, 32-30, but Sweetwater led 7-6 after one quarter and 21-17 at halftime.
And Snyder led by four, 40-36, entering the final two minutes of play.
But the Mustangs had the last laugh. De’andre Gatson hit a 3-pointer with 1:48 to play that narrowed the lead to one, sparking a 9-0 finish that gave Sweetwater (1-1) a 45-40 win over the Tigers and its first victory in 4-3A play, while Snyder fell to 0-2.
After the defense forced a turnover, Kaleb Hoover was fouled and hit two free throws to give Sweetwater a 41-40 lead. Then Gatson stole a pass and fed Mar-quees Jenkins for a layup to make it 43-40 with 36 sec-onds left. After a timeout, Snyder broke the Sweet-water press, but Dylan Bennett sealed it with two free throws with 9.4 seconds to play following his steal that led to a backcourt foul by Snyder.
“We take pride in our defense,” said Sweetwater coach Al Hunt. “We got some big steals, and made some clutch free throws we don’t always make.”
Bennett, with 13 points, was the only Sweetwater player in double figures. Michael Hunt, the son of the head coach, and Gatson both scored nine points while Hoover had six, Jenkins four and Jacob Peyton and Rhett Torres two. Hunt scored all of his points in the first half, and he and Bennett led an 11-0 surge that turned a six-point deficit in the second quarter into an 18-13 lead.
Sweetwater led 21-14 af-ter Jenkins scored soon af-ter, but the lead turned into a 22-21 deficit early in the third when a 3 by Snyder’s Dralon Jackson completed an 8-0 Tigers run. Snyder then clung to a narrow lead for much of the second half until Sweetwater pulled out the win at the end.
Neither team shot parti-cularly well from the field, but both were accurate at the free throw line — Sweet-water was 17 of 24 from the charity stripe, while Snyder made 13 of 17 attempts.
“We’ll take it (the win). It (shows up) in the left hand column,” Al Hunt said. “In this district, it doesn’t matter how you do it. I knew it would be a tough scrap.”
But a much tougher scrap awaits Sweetwater on Friday, when the team hosts Wylie, the 4-3A co-leader at 2-0. Wylie beat Greenwood 80-49 on Tuesday.

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