Lady Mustangs stage late rally to defeat Big Spring

Ron Howell
Sports Editor

Point guard is a position that sounds like a misnomer because it does not require a lot of scoring from the individual performer.
But Amber Knox decided to do just that in the late stages of Friday’s District 5-4A girls basketball game at Mustang Gym to spark a 56-49 Sweetwater come-from-behind win over Big Spring, as the Lady Mustangs evened their district record at 1-1.
With Sweetwater trailing 48-43 against Big Spring and less than three minutes to play, Knox — who had just three points at that point — took charge offensively by scoring the next nine points to give the Lady Mustangs a 52-48 advantage.
Knox’s three-pointer cut the Lady Steers’ lead to two. She was fouled with 1:35 to play and made the first of two free throws, then rebounded her miss and put it back in to give Sweetwater a 49-48 lead. Three more Knox free throws made it 52-48 after she was fouled on a 3-point attempt with just under a minute remaining.
Kayleigh Penny hit a free throw for Big Spring to end the run, and Big Spring had a chance to tie it after calling timeout with 25.9 to play.
But the Lady Steers missed a 3-pointer, and a fast-break layup by Tavis Black at the other end — followed by Black’s layup seconds later — sealed the victory for Sweetwater.
Head coach Devin Griffin has talked with Knox often about her role as point guard. “She’s taken on that responsibility,” Griffin said of the junior.
“I thought she was really strong tonight.”
But a slow start put the Lady Mustangs in catch-up mode for much of the game as Big Spring (0-3) jumped out to an 8-0 lead.
Sweetwater’s own 8-0 run tied it it, but Big Spring pulled back ahead by four, 14-10, at the end of the first period by scoring the last five points. Sweetwater dominated most of the second quarter, going on a 15-4 run to open a 25-18 lead until Big Spring cut it back to three points, 25-22, at intermission.
Shavie Green and Jessica Poe, Sweetwater’s two post players, were forced to the bench after they both picked up their fourth foul in the third quarter. Their absence was felt as Big Spring ended the period on an 11-3 run for a 39-33 advantage. The Lady Steers led by eight points three times in the fourth quarter, including 45-37 with 5:32 left. But the Lady Mustangs responded with a game-ending 19-4 outburst, with Green and Poe both playing key roles in the surge.
“That was huge getting Jessica and Shavie back in,” said Griffin. “I thought we were trying to do much ourselves at the start against (Big Spring’s) press. I thought we were overly excited, amped up all day. I told them we have to keep our composure.”
Black led Sweetwater with 19 points while Knox had 12, Green nine, Poe eight, Kyla Daniel five and Elli Lehnert three. The game was marred by 47 fouls and the teams shot a total of 65 free throws. Sweetwater was 21-of-32 at the line and Big Spring was 18-of-33. Three of Big Spring’s players fouled out in the fourth quarter.
Sweetwater, Snyder and idle Brownwood are now tied for second place with 1-1 records. Wylie leads the district with a 3-0 record after beating Snyder 76-31 on Friday. On Tuesday, Sweetwater goes to Snyder to break their tie.