The Sweetwater boys basketball team slowly fought back Friday from a six-point deficit early in the fourth quarter ot its non-district game at Mustang Gym, finally taking a one-point lead (59-58) on a field goal by Tino Martinez that came with 1:32 left and capped an 11-4 surge. However, the Bearcats came back to score the game’s last five points and escape with a 63-59 victory.
Raymond Delgado of Bal-linger scored with 1:13 left to regain the lead, 60-59, and the Bearcats were able to secure the win with three free throws in the last 50 seconds, the last coming after Dylan Bennett missed on a potential game-tying three-pointer with about 10 seconds remaining.
With the loss, Sweet-water’s record fell to 9-13 with just one game left before starting District 5-3A play this Friday by hosting Wylie. But there were some positives for the Mustangs, who travel to San Angelo Lake View Tuesday. The 59 points equalled the second-highest one-game total of the season, following a season-high 64 points against Roby three days earlier. In fact, the team’s three highest scoring totals have come in the last four games.
Sweetwater started well Friday, opening up an 18-14 lead after one quarter and leading Ballinger by as much as eight points in the second quarter before settling for a four-point (35-31) lead at halftime.
But the Bearcats came out hot in the third quarter, regaining the lead (38-36) early in the period and increasing it to seven, 48-41, a few minutes later.
It was 51-46 at the start of the fourth quarter and 54-48 with 5:51 left when Ballinger’s Lane Carter hit a trey, before the Mustangs made their final run. Taylor Jones and Martinez scored to tie it at 54-54 and 57-57 before Martinez finally re-gained the lead, but Sweet-water — which was trying for its fifth victory in its last six games — was unable to score again.
Kaleb Hoover, Sweetwa-ter’s 6-2 sophomore post, and Jones both scored 13 points to lead the Mustangs but neither could match the Bearcats’ tandem of Carter (24) and Delgado (21), who combined for 45 of their team’s points. Carter had 15 of his total in the second half and Delgado 12, and Carter’s free throw with 2.8 seconds left clinched it.
“They did a good job of keeping the ball in (Carter’s) hands,” said coach Al Hunt, “and we had a couple of possessions that cost us. We had too many turnovers (Sweetwater finshed the game with 26). We play Lake View Tuesday nd we need to play well.”
Eight different Mustangs scored Friday. Bennett had nine points and Martinez and Dylon Adames seven, while Gabe Medellin and Isaiah McGee each finished with four points and Anth-ony Palacios two. Bennett, like Hoover, is a sophomore while McGee is a freshman. Hoover had 11 rebounds and Adames seven, while Jones led the team with seven assists.