Big finish gives Mustangs a win over Steers in District 5-4A opener

Ron Howell
Sports Editor

Kobe Clark and J.L. Solis were almost unstoppable in the Sweetwater boys’ District 5-4A basketball opener against Big Spring here Friday. And as a team, the Mustangs came up with 49 second-half points as they rolled to an 81-66 victory over the Steers.
Clark (27 points) and Solis (23 points) were responsible for most of that damage. But while Clark did his scoring throughout, Solis had 20 of his points in the second half as the Mustangs overcame a two-point deficit at intermission.
The 81 points are by far Sweetwater’s highest team total, exceeding its previous high of 59 by 22 points.
And the win was the third in a row for the Mustangs, who improved their season mark to 7-14 with most of the losses to bigger schools.
Coach Bryan Loera said his team is “playing our best basketball of the year,” and it’s hard to disagree with his assessment.
“We’ve played some tough competition and it’s helped a lot,” he said. “We had a little nervous energy (at the start of Friday’s game), but in the second half we settled down and competed hard.
“I felt like we beat (the Steers) at their own game. They like to press, but I think we took them out of their game and kind of took the fight out of them.”
In addition to the 147 total points, there were 49 fouls called and the teams shot 61 free throws. Sweetwater was 24-of-39 at the line while Big Spring was 13-of-22. Most of Sweetwater’s total came from Clark and Solis, who were a combined 20-of-30.
But Clark built the double-digit lead almost single-handedly with a scoring explosion in the final 1:11 of the third quarter. He scored nine points in a 10-0 run that increased the Mustangs’ lead from 49-47 to 59-47 in that time. Solis had 11 of the first 18 points in the period, helping Sweetwater overcome a 34-32 deficit at halftime.
Most of the Mustangs’ field goals came on fast-break layups and slashing moves to the basket, especially in the second half. The biggest lead, 76-56, came when Solis scored on such a play with 3:06 left in the contest.
However, Big Spring led 17-16 after one period and outscored the Mustangs by the same score in Period 2. The Steers led 13-4 at one point until a 12-1 Sweetwater run allowed the Mustangs to grab a 16-14 lead late in the first quarter. That was their only lead until the third quarter.
But once Solis regained the lead, 40-38, with 5:24 left in the period, Sweetwater never trailed again.
Reserves Ky Hoover and Tristan Morrow scored 12 and nine points, respectively, with both making two 3-pointers. Kiante McCoy had seven points and Logan Wedin hit a three-pointer to complete the team’s scoring.
Sweetwater pays a visit to Snyder (0-1) when it resumes play Tuesday before coming back home to host Wylie, which defeated Snyder 76-31 in the teams’ District 5-4A openers.
“We just have to take it one game at a time and try to go 2-0,” said Loera. “We can’t overlook anybody.”