Lady Mustangs sew up playoff spot; Boys Mustangs get setback

Ron Howell
Sports Editor

With time running out on Tuesday and down by three points at Mustang Gym, the Sweetwater girls found late magic against Big Spring in their next-to-last home game of the season.
The 41-35 victory secures at least the No. 3 playoff spot for Sweetwater (17-11 overall), now 3-3 in District 5-4A with two games left. Big Spring (2-5), despite the loss, will be the No. 4 seed following last-place Snyder’s loss to Wylie on Tuesday night. Sweetwater goes to Snyder on Friday, then ends the regular season next Tuesday by hosting Wylie, which is 5-2.
Brownwood (6-0), which was idle on Tuesday, has clinched the No. 1 seed. Sweetwater could force a play-in for the No. 2 spot by beating Snyder and Wylie to finish 5-3 in district.
Big Spring led nearly all the way against Sweetwater until the final two minutes.
Baylie Lindsey, who had 14 points, gave Sweetwater the lead (36-35) on a layup with 47.2 seconds left.
Lindsey then added three free throws — one on a technical and the other two on a shooting foul — to increase the Lady Mustangs’ lead to four, 39-35.
After the defense forced a turnover, Sweetwater fin-ished off the win with a pair of free throws by Tavis Black with 19.4 seconds left.
Sweetwater was ahead on Tuesday just three times — including a 2-0 lead at the start — until its late rally. Big Spring’s biggest lead was eight points, 10-2, after an early 10-0 run. The Lady Steers led 10-5, 20-18 and 33-30 at the breaks, over-coming Sweetwater leads of 26-25 and 28-25 in the third quarter.
Jessica Poe had 10 points, Bri Moriel six, Amber Knox five, Black four and Shavie Green two for Sweetwater. which had lost two straight since its last victory over Snyder on Jan. 17.
“It definitely wasn’t one of our best games,” said coach Rusty Rainbolt. “But we found a way to come back and win.
“All of our goals we set for ourselves this year, except for a district championship, are still in front of us.
“I’m just proud that the girls found a way to come back and win.”
Big Spring boys 49,
Sweetwater boys 46
Big Spring now has third place to itself after beating Sweetwater on Tuesday in the nightcap of the District 5-4A varsity doubleheader.
It was tied 46-46 until Big Spring scored the last three points — first on a shot by Jeremiah Rushin with 26.6 seconds left, then a Rushin free throw with 1.9 left.
With Big Spring leading 48-46, Sweetwater’s Jordan McGee tried a 3-pointer to give the Mustangs the lead with less than 10 seconds to play in the contest. But his shot wouldn’t go down and after a scramble for the ball, a foul sent Rushin to the line and he hit the front end of the one-and-one with 1.9 seconds remaining for a 49-46 lead. The Steers held on after a long 3-point shot by Sweetwater fell short.
Big Spring is now 2-3 in district play and moves ahead of Sweetwater and Snyder, who are both 1-4, into third place in District 5-4A. The Mustangs have now dropped three in a row since their only district win over Snyder, 46-41, which came two weeks ago. The Mustangs visit Snyder on Friday, while Big Spring will host second-place Brown-wood (3-1). The Mustangs host first-place Wylie (5-0) next Tuesday, get an open date and host Brownwood Feb. 14 to end the season.
Despite the loss, coach Chris Carruthers applauded the effort of his team, which had two top players out of action due to injury. “I’m sure that there are things we could have done better, but I’m proud of the guys,” he said afterward. “As long as we don’t give up, we’ve got a chance to make the playoffs.”
Kobe Clark paced Sweet-water with a game-high 16 points, while McGee was next with nine. Ky Hoover and Malachi Fassett scored six, Garrett Davison and Tristan Longoria three, Kiante McCoy two and Logan King one.