At this point of the season, Sweetwater High School girls basketball coach Al Miller will take a win â€” no matter how ugly it is â€” any way he can get it.
Tuesdayâ€™s 43-39 victory over last-place Monahans wasnâ€™t pretty to watch. But it accomplished the desired result nonetheless.
The Lady Mustangs (4-4 in district, 8-12) are tantalizingly close to a second straight playoff berth after moving into outright third place with just two games left in the season.
Sweetwater now holds a one-game lead over Snyder and Big Spring, both 3-5 after losing Tuesday to second-place Greenwood and first-place Wylie, respectively, and can wrap up a playoff spot by winning at Snyder on Friday. The Lady Mustangs go to Wylie next Tuesday to end the season.
Sweetwater was up by 16, 19-3, after a Kayla Chown-ing layup late in the first quarter. It was a struggle after that, but the team survived despite allowing Monahans (0-8) to wipe out the early lead and stay close from then on. Sweetwater couldnâ€™t breathe easy until two free throws by Shaneese Brown with 4.5 seconds left finally clinched its second straight win in district play.
The Lady Mustangs won despite shooting just 26 percent (16 of 62) from the field and missing 10 of 17 free throws. Monahans also struggled (13 of 51 from the field) but tied the game twice: first at 21-21 â€” thanks to an 18-2 run â€” and again at 34-34 in the third period. Sweetwater was able to re-gain the lead both times, but it was never larger than five points the second half.
Chowning had 14 points to pace the Lady Mustangs, who got scoring from six different players but had both Chowning and Brown on the bench with foul trou-ble much of the game, es-pecially in the second half. Also scoring for Sweetwater were Taylor McPherson with eight points, Brown, Hayley Brownlow and Cierra Knox with six points and Maddie Jones with three points.
â€śWe had a rough night shooting,â€ť Miller said. â€śWe were getting the shots, but we just went cold. Iâ€™m just glad we stayed with it. It wasnâ€™t pretty, but itâ€™s a W.â€ť
Sweetwater split its two games with Big Spring, but lost 59-36 to Snyder when the teams played Jan. 14.