‘Stangs are eliminated by Steers despite a fast start

Ron Howell
Sports Editor

ANSON — Sweetwater raced to a big lead in the first quarter of its bi-district playoff game Tuesday and maintained its lead as the second quarter came to a close against Graham.
The second half was a different story. The Mustangs gave up the lead to Graham early in the third quarter and the Steers never gave it back, claiming a 53-43 win at Anson High School.
The disappointing finish for Sweetwater came after a very strong beginning as the Mustangs led 16-5 after the first quarter.
Sweetwater held Graham off in the second period as well. The Mustangs led by seven points, 25-18, as late as the final minute of the half after two free throws by Tristan Morrow.
But a 5-1 run to end the first half cut Sweetwater’s lead to 26-23 and Graham used a 5-0 run at the start of the second half to take its first lead.
Kiante McCoy tied the game for Sweetwater with two free throws. However, the momentum stayed with the Steers, who led 38-32 at the end of the third period.
Sweetwater stayed within striking distance, cutting Graham’s lead to four points, 47-43, on a layup by Kobe Clark with 47.4 left.
That would be the last Sweetwater points of the game as Graham advanced to the area playoffs.
Sweetwater was paced by Clark’s game-high 19 points and McCoy had 14, but the other six players who saw action had just 10. Morrow had four and J.L. Solis, Ky Hoover and Jackson Foster all had two points.
Graham (15-15) got 10 points from two players, Marc Tate and Cameron Mason. The Steers outscored Sweetwater by 21 points, 48-27, after the first quarter.
“We just didn’t finish,” Sweetwater coach Bryan Loera said, citing the third-quarter woes that included a technical on Sweetwater as the start of the downfall.
“They found a way to get it done and we didn’t and you can’t do that in the playoffs,” the first-year head coach concluded.