To say Sweetwater and Big Spring have been even-ly matched district rivals this season might qualify as an understatement.
The Lady Mustangs had to survive two last-second Big Spring shot attempts to pull out a 35-33 victory at Big Spring in the teams’ district 0pener Jan. 4.
But on Tuesday, it was the Lady Steers turn to deal some heartache as they held on for a 41-40 overtime win at Mustang Gym, leaving both teams 3-3 and tied for third in District 4-3A with four games left.
Big Spring led 41-39 after Julianna Rodriguez’s two free throws with 23.7 seconds left in OT. Sweet-water’s Kendra Crosson was fouled with 0.7 left and got two shots, but missed the first attempt before hitting her second. Big Spring held on for the victory as Sweet-water was unable to get the ball back for a final shot.
The bad ending in overtime, however, wasn’t the only frustrating thing for the Lady Mustangs.
Sweetwater led 37-35 af-ter two go-ahead Crosson free throws with 62 seconds left in regulation, and still maintained that lead over Big Spring with 6.2 seconds left despite missing chances to add to that lead.
Big Spring, however, tied it by going the length of the court with Alexis Casino scoring her only points for the Lady Steers just before the buzzer sounded.
Shelby Cason then gave Sweetwater a 39-37 lead with two free throws in the first minute of the four-minute overtime. However, the Lady Steers tied it again at 39 when Rodriguez hit two free throws. After a collision between Suede Shirley of Sweetwater and Big Spring’s Diamonique Mayes that briefly forced Shirley to the bench due to injury, Rodriguez again hit two free throws that provi-ded the winning margin.
Crosson was the game’s top scorer with 18 points, but she was only 4-of-11 at the free throw line. For the game, Big Spring was 7-of-10 at the line while Sweet-water, despite attempting 22 free throws in the con-test, made just 10 of them. The Lady Mustangs also had 23 turnovers in losing their second straight game.
Sweetwater (17-12 overall) led 10-7 after one quarter and twice held five-point leads in the second quarter, the last time at 16-11 when Cason scored with 46.5 sec-onds left, but a Big Spring 3-pointer right before half cut the lead to 16-14.
Big Spring won the third quarter 13-7 to build a 27-23 lead, and still led by four (32-28) with 3:36 left. But Sweetwater went on a 7-0 run to go up 35-32, ending with a 3-pointer by Shirley to regain the lead. Howev-er, Big Spring tied the game at 35 on a 3-pointer by Rodriguez with 1:30 left.
Cason had nine points and Kelsi Crosson seven for Sweetwater, which goes to Greenwood on Friday. Shir-ley and Janell Walker each finished with three points.
“We had turnovers and missed opportunities,” said coach Al Miller. “We played our tail ends off defensively, but that just killed us.”
Greenwood (5-1) tight-ened its hold on second by beating Monahans 60-35, and still trails Wylie (6-0) by just one game.