You might think that the only local connection the Sweetwater girls’ basketball team has to Fort Stockton — which will be facing the Lady Mustangs in a Class 3A bi-district playoff at 6:30 p.m. today at Sonora — is that the schools were 4A district rivals for many years back in the ‘80s and ‘90s.
But it turns out that the Sweetwater-Fort Stockton connection is much closer, because the Prowlers’ head coach has local ties.
Vic Ivy is now in his third year as head girls coach at Fort Stockton.
Yes, the same person who coached for many years at Sweetwater before leaving in 2009 for Fort Stockton.
He’s certainly familiar to Sweetwater girls coach Al Miller, himself a longtime Sweetwater coach, who said coaching against Ivy will be “surreal” — even more so given that tonight will be the first playoff game that Miller has coached.
Otherwise, Fort Stockton — the runnerup in District 3-3A at 10-2 and 18-10 for the season — has a team that Miller said plays four guards and relies heavily on its outside shooting.
Ivy’s daughter, Dacy, was a point guard on the last Sweetwater girls team — in 2005 — to make the playoffs before this year.
But the Lady Mustangs broke through by beating Big Spring 44-43 at Lake View High School in a Dis-trict 4-3A third-place tie-breaker Friday, and now they’re ready for a playoff victory as well.
Friday’s win for Sweetwa-ter also set a milestone by being the team’s 20th of the season, the first time that has happened since 2006.
One more victory would advance Sweetwater — which has a 20-14 overall record — to the area playoffs where it would face Lubbock Cooper.
Miller said Sweetwater’s chances today against Fort Stockton may depend largely on how well it protects the basketball against the Prowlers’ defense.
“If we’ll go down there and play smart and not turn it over, I think that we’ll be all right,” he said.
Beating Big Spring this past Friday lifted a huge burden some players had carried since Big Spring’s 41-40 victory at Sweetwater that ultimately led to a tie-breaker to decide the No. 3 playoff team.
Miller said the players are also feeling more confident as a result. “They want to go out with a bang, especially with this being the last time for our seniors,” he said.
“I’m happy that we made the playoffs, but also I didn’t want them to have to think about how losing to Big Spring would keep us out of the playoffs.”