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Returning to their home court for one final time â€” and less than 48 hours after a heart-breaking defeat at their gym Saturday to Big Spring that basically eliminated them from playoff contention â€” the Sweetwater girls basketball team had to deal with state-ranked Wylie.
As expected, the No. 14 Lady Bulldogs (8-0 district, 20-13) won, 58-38.
But the Lady Mustangs (1-6), after a rough first half, regrouped rather impressively and held their own with Wylie over the final two periods.
Wylie used a 19-5 run in the last 3:44 of the opening quarter to take a 26-11 lead and was up by 21, 38-17, at intermission. However, the rout didnâ€™t continue.
Sweetwater â€” which ends its season at 5 p.m. today by traveling to state-ranked Brownwood â€” outscored the Lady Bulldogs 12-7 in the third quarter to narrow the deficit to 16, 45-29. And two free throws each by Alicia Finn and Kinsey Browning sliced it to 45-33 with just over six minutes left in the contest.
Wylie ended any thoughts of a miracle comeback with a game-ending 13-5 run, but Sweetwater coach Jerry McSherry was still encour-aged by his teamâ€™s play.
â€śIâ€™m proud of them for fighting back in the second half like they did,â€ť he said. â€śThey never gave up.â€ť
Wylieâ€™s Peyton Little led all scorers with 19 points, but just three came after halftime. â€śWe were going to make someone else besides Peyton hit outside shots and they did,â€ť McSherry said. But he also said that holding Little to under 20 points, and losing by just 20 to the Lady Bulldogs after getting off to a bad start were â€śmoral victoriesâ€ť for a program that is still in the rebuilding process.
Wylie connected on eight 3-pointers to Sweetwaterâ€™s one, but the Lady Mustangs hit 17 of 29 free throws to somewhat offset their lack of field goal production. Wylie, which had 3-pointers from four different players, was 14 of 24 at the line in its final regular season game.
Sweetwater was paced by Kendra Crossonâ€™s 11 points. Browning and Taylor McKoy had nine, Finn five and Kelsi Crosson and Brittany Lashinski two. Browning hit the lone 3-pointer.