SONORA â€” Now that the Sweetwater girls are in the Class 3A playoffs, theyâ€™ve decided to stay awhile.
The Lady Mustangs on Tuesday guaranteed that their best season since 2005 will continue by grabbing a 58-43 bi-district win over Fort Stockton.
Sweetwater, now 21-14 for the season, will take on Lubbock Cooper in the area playoffs later this week. At press time, the teams had tentatively agreed to play at Post on Friday.
Nothing has come easy for the Lady Mustangs over the past month during their run to the postseason, and Tuesdayâ€™s game wasnâ€™t exactly a cakewalk either.
Fort Stockton, the District 3-3A runnerup this season under former longtime Sweetwater coach Vic Ivy, led 7-4 midway through the first quarter and refused to go away even after Sweetwater held several leads of between 20 and 22 points in the second half.
The Prowlers cut a 50-28 deficit early in the fourth quarter to 11 points, 52-41, with 3:20 to play.
But Sweetwater finally iced the game at the line as Kelsi Crosson hit four free throws and Shelby Cason two over the final 2:07.
Cason, who scored 15 points and is one of seven seniors on this yearâ€™s team, said she wasnâ€™t really wor-ried about losing.
â€śYou have to believe in each other,â€ť she said. â€śWinning (the bi-district title) means everything, especially since itâ€™s our last year and weâ€™ve had to work so hard to get here.â€ť
Cason had nine of her points in the first quarter and sparked a decisive 12-1 run that put Sweetwater ahead to stay. She was one of three Lady Mustangs in double figures as Kendra Crosson had a team-high 16 points and her twin, Kelsi Crosson, added 14.
Fort Stockton cut Sweet-waterâ€™s lead to 18-16 in the second quarter, but Kendra and Kelsi Crosson each had four points in an 8-0 run that got the lead back to 10 (26-16) en route to a 31-20 halftime advantage.
â€śI think we started out a little nervous,â€ť said coach Al Miller. â€śI think they were trying so hard that they were messing up. At the end of the game we were doing stuff we didnâ€™t need to do, so we called time out.â€ť
Suede Shirley had five, Shaneese Brown four and Elise Lawrence and Hayley Brownlow two to completee Sweetwaterâ€™s scoring.
â€śSweetwater played really good and took care of the ball,â€ť said Ivy, whose team finishes 18-11. â€śIt was a great team effort by them. We made some runs, but we just couldnâ€™t quite get over the hump.â€ť