POST — The good start needed for Sweetwater to stay with the No. 8-ranked girls team in Class 3A failed to materialize on Friday.
Instead, Lubbock Cooper jumped out to a 13-0 lead over the Lady Mustangs be-fore they could score, and the lead ballooned from there as the Lady Pirates beat Sweetwater, 74-37.
So the Lady Mustangs’ best season since 2005 — the last time they got to the playoffs — ends at 21-15.
Lubbock Cooper (30-4) will face Levelland — which upset No. 17 Wylie 42-37 in the nightcap of Friday’s playoff doubleheader — in the regional quarterfinals.
Lubbock Cooper led 21-5 after one quarter, but the teams fought to a 13-13 standoff in the second to make it 34-18 at halftime.
But the Lady Pirates got off to another hot start over Sweetwater in the third stanza with a 9-2 run and led by at least 20 points the rest of the game.
Kendra Crosson had 12 points to pace Sweetwater, which had wins over Big Spring (44-43) and Fort Stockton (58-43) to get to this point.
“I knew what we were facing tonight,” coach Al Miller said.
“But I thought we competed better than I thought we would, especially after that first quarter.”
After the team’s respectable second quarter, Miller said he and his players be-lieved they could still win.
“We really believed, and our girls played their tails off, but we turned the ball over too much (32 times) and we got a little winded toward the end.
“But it was a good year and (the girls) gave me a good ride.”
Kelsi Crosson had nine, Suede Shirley eight, Elise Lawrence six and Janell Walker two for Sweetwater in the final game of their career. It was also the last game for Kendra Crosson, Kelsi’s twin sister, as well as Shelby Cason, who is the team’s other starter.
Kathleen Campbell, the team’s seventh senior, was with the team but did not play due to recent surgery which kept her out of the team’s last several games.
Of the seniors, all but Lawrence also played on the volleyball team that missed the playoffs despite a 24-16 record. “They wanted it so bad after (missing out in) volleyball,” Miller said. “I was more happy for our team than for myself.
“I just hope our younger kids will use this experi-ence and not be satisfied, and will start getting prepared for next year.”