Nail-biter

February 4, 2013

Three Sweetwater Mustangs — Dylan Bennett, Michael Hunt and Kaleb Hoover (pictured from left) —go up in an effort to gain possession of the ball while teammate Rhett Torres watches in Friday’s game against Snyder. (Photo by Clint Parks)

Since their 65-49 victory at Snyder on Jan. 15, the Sweetwater boys basketball team has had trouble not only winning games — the Mustangs had lost four in a row coming into Friday’s rematch — but also putting the ball in the basket.
Even though Sweetwater ended its losing skid against Snyder with a 46-44 win, those troubles continued at Mustang Gym against the Tigers, who’ve won just four of 25 games this season.
Sweetwater led 9-0 before Snyder got on the board, and enjoyed a 13-5 lead in the first minute of the sec-ond quarter.
But then the Mustangs had a nightmarishly long stretch of offensive frustration, scoring just 10 points from the 7:35 mark of the second quarter until the 1:42 mark of the third and falling behind 30-23.
However, Sweetwater — which is now 2-5 in District 4-3A play and 13-12 overall — finally regained its touch from that point on and had just enough to keep Snyder (0-7, 4-21) from getting its first district win.
Isaiah McGee’s two free throws with 19.2 seconds left provided the winning margin and a 46-41 lead at that point. Snyder cut the Mustangs lead to three on Malik Davis’ 3-pointer with 9.6 seconds to play, and after Michael Hunt missed both free throws for Sweet-water after being fouled, the Tigers had one last chance.
Davis took it the length of the court, but missed a short jumper as time expired.
It wasn’t pretty, but it was still a win for the Mustangs and while it was still a struggle, coach Al Hunt will take it. “We couldn’t buy a basket in the third quarter. Luckily, we hung in there,” he said.
“We kind of relaxed on defense after we got that early lead, but then we started getting after it again and finally started going to the basket again. It’s hard to beat someone twice. I knew that they would come play us a lot tougher than they did before, but we did what we had to do to win.”
Kaleb Hoover’s 19 points led Sweetwater, which had almost as many points (21) in the fourth quarter as it did (25) over the first three, with only four points in the third quarter.
But a 9-2 run tied it at 32 and Sweetwater finally regained the lead, 36-35, on two Michael Hunt freee throws with 3:58 to play.
Snyder would hold two more leads until an 8-2 run put Sweetwater up to stay.
Rhett Torres scored eight points while Hunt and Dylan Bennett had five, Deandre Gatson three and McGee, Cole Maxwell and Quentin Wetsel two each.

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