It’s taken eight years to get back to this point.
Now Sweetwater finds itself in a similar situa-tion to what it faced the last time a girls team ad-vanced to the Class 3A area basketball playoffs — a highly-ranked squad that will be heavily favored to end their season.
Back in 2005, the Lady Mustangs faced No. 1-ranked Canyon and lost 67-26. Today, they meet No. 8 Lubbock Cooper in the area round hoping for a much better result.
But they know they will have to play their best to pull off the upset.
“I think we’re ready,” said Sweetwater coach Al Miller. “They know the storm’s coming. But we’re going to fight as hard as we can. We have to play a perfect game.
“We can’t be careless. Our backs are against the wall. It’s like going up against the playground bully. You can’t hold back; you’ve got to hit them with everything you’ve got.”
Sweetwater has shown resiliency by winning four of its last five games to get to the area playoffs, after a stretch where the team lost three straight games to jeopardize its hopes.
And the Lady Mustangs are still confident despite their opponent, which has a 29-4 record this season while Sweetwater comes in 21-14.
The Lady Pirates have faced their share of tough opponents in compiling that impressive record. One of their four losses was to Canyon, but they beat Wylie 55-53 back in December — a game that Miller has seen on film — and twice knocked off No. 10 Shallowater in district play to earn the No. 1 seed and a first-round bye.
But Sweetwater has had a tough schedule since the start of district as well. Miller said Cooper is much like Wylie — it plays stout defense while on offense it can be effective outside or inside the paint. Katy Boren (13.3 points), a 5-7 senior guard, is the team’s top scorer.
But the Lady Pirates also have a pair of six-foot post players in Bridget Rampy and Claire Shaver, along with 5-10 Jordan Hise, who is the daughter of former Sweetwater boys bas-ketball coach Paul Hise.
Miller said that Boren and Taylor Parr, who averages 10.5 points a game, are the team’s top 3-point shooters.
The Sweetwater-Cooper game tonight will be the first half of a doubleheader at Post High School.
Wylie will face Levelland, the No. 3 team in Cooper’s district, at 7:30 p.m.