Prior to last Friday’s game at Wylie, the Sweetwater boys had won eight of nine games while scoring 6o or more points in three of their first four games of 2013.
But the Mustangs (12-10, 1-3) have faltered offensive-ly of late, managing just 64 total points in their last two contests. And after a 49-39 loss to Big Spring here on Tuesday, Sweetwater badly needs to regain its shooting touch in a hurry if it hopes to be a factor in District 4-3A play.
Against Big Spring, the Mustangs were 15-of-49 (31 percent) from the field and never held another lead over the Steers after a basket by Rhett Torres put Sweetwater ahead 8-7 with 3:17 left in the first period.
Kaleb Hoover scored a game-high 19 points for the Mustangs on 7-of-14 shoot-ing, but no one else reached double figures for Sweet-water. Big Spring’s win al-lowed the Steers (1-3) to pick up their district win and tie Sweetwater for fourth place, leaving both teams two full games behind second-place Greenwood and Monahans. Greenwood (3-1) pulled off a surprising 63-46 win Tuesday at Monahans and will host Sweetwater this Friday, and then the Mustangs go to Monahans to complete their brief road trip Jan. 29.
Big Spring led Sweetwater 14-10 after one quarter and 21-16 at halftime. However, the Steers saw their advan-tage shrink to two, 28-26, when Hoover hit a pair of baskets in the final minute of the third quarter.
But the momentum for the host Mustangs proved to be short-lived entering the final stanza as Big Spring built its lead to eight (34-26) on consecutive 3-pointers by Tyler Wigington and Ty ler Graves.
Michael Hunt’s 3-pointer got Sweetwater within three (35-38) with 3:40 left, but the Mustangs got no closer as Big Spring pulled away again to win by a 10-point margin.
Dylan Bennett had eight points, Torres seven, Hunt three and Cole Maxwell two for Sweetwater, which returns home Feb. 1 to host Snyder (0-4).
“We just couldn’t get it to go in the basket,” said Sweetwater coach Al Hunt.
“We needed to win this one. We had chances to make some runs, but then we’d come away with nothing.”