Returning to their home court for one final time — and less than 48 hours after a heart-breaking defeat at their gym Saturday to Big Spring that basically eliminated them from playoff contention — 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 didn’t continue.
Sweetwater — which ends its season at 5 p.m. today by traveling to state-ranked Brownwood — 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 team’s play.
“I’m proud of them for fighting back in the second half like they did,” he said. “They never gave up.”
Wylie’s Peyton Little led all scorers with 19 points, but just three came after halftime. “We were going to make someone else besides Peyton hit outside shots and they did,” 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 “moral victories” for a program that is still in the rebuilding process.
Wylie connected on eight 3-pointers to Sweetwater’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 Crosson’s 11 points. Browning and Taylor McKoy had nine, Finn five and Kelsi Crosson and Brittany Lashinski two. Browning hit the lone 3-pointer.