Big Spring boys
More than anything, the first quarter of the Big Spring-Sweetwater game Tuesday in Steer Gym was an exhibition of athleticism on the Steers’ part.
There was that uptempo style they like to run and a couple of missed dunks that had fans buzzing.
But forward Mike Menefield gave the fans what they wanted on a fast break with a two-handed jam that gave the Steers a 13-7 lead.
By then the Steers were well on their way to the 75-46 drubbing of the Mustangs in District 5-3A play.
“The kids, the fans, they like to see those dunks,” BSHS head coach Cliff Thompson said. “I think our dunks are like 15 percent for the year, but if nothing else, it gets those guys excited in the stands and that changes the momentum, even if you miss a dunk.”
Big Spring guard Luke Adams was once again nothing short of outstanding with 37 points and eight 3-pointers. Tristian Clay and Devante Lloyd chipping in 12 apiece shouldn’t be overlooked either.
But it was simply athleticism and quickness that propelled the Steers past the Mustangs.
Big Spring’s explosive first quarter only set them up for a comfortable 16-point lead heading into the second.
By halftime, the Mustangs were buried by a 22-point deficit, thanks to two baskets from Adams and another from Lloyd to make it 36-16 in the middle of the second and two 3-pointers from Adams and another from Marc Segundo to make 41-18 as the quarter expired.
The Mustangs couldn’t keep up with the Steers, even with tall, lanky center Paxton Kelley and his 13 points.
Menefield said it was tough to stop Kelley in the paint and at times
the Steers had to double-team him. But Lloyd, among others, made sure Kelley didn’t do too much damage Tuesday night.
There’s still room for improvement in the Steers’ eyes.
Adams said he likes to see his team score on fast break opportunities, but in the long run, if the defense can win some games for the Steers, then they’ll be dangerous.
“We like to play uptempo. It’s just our defense is not as strong, so we gamble a little bit more,” the senior guard said. “We have to play a little bit better on defense. We gambled a little too much and gave up some points.”
The Steers also played like a confident team Tuesday night, too.
Menefield said Friday’s 66-56 win at Brownwood was one of the biggest of the season because it gave the Steers belief they could do some damage in district play.
“After we won the Brownwood game, that gave us the confidence that we know we can come into district playing well,” he said. “Going into district, we should keep the winning streak going and go deep in the playoffs.”
The Steers may not win too many games in district play the way they did Tuesday night. They were just quicker than the Mustangs, but Thompson said Snyder will be just as quick, Brownwood is just as athletic and Abilene Wylie won’t be easy to overcome.
So the next few weeks might be challenging, but the Steers are in position to start district play on the right foot. Big Spring has Snyder at home Friday before an open date Jan. 25. Then another home game against Wylie follows.
Having the next three at home with an open date nestled in between shows how big the win at Brownwood was.
“It was huge,” Thompson said. “It’s kind of a darker gym. They had stands full with fans, it was loud. It was a good atmosphere and it was huge to get a win there. … We’re 2-0, still on the road trying to get that district championship.”
Big Spring girls
The snowball effect took place for the Big Spring Lady Steers in their District 5-3A matchup against Sweetwater Tuesday.
It just progressively got worse on the way to a 59-35 loss at home to fall to 0-3 in district play.
While a bad shooting night already had the Lady Steers playing catch-up, Kinsey Browning and Taylor McKoy’s 16 points apiece were big for Sweetwater as the Lady Mustangs earned their first district win.
Big Spring’s strengths weren’t strong enough Tuesday night.
“Cerbi (Ritchey) had some looks, she just couldn’t put the ball in the hole,” BSHS head coach Mike Warren said. “Bridgette (Tuitt) had a lot of good penetration. She was getting inside that zone (defense). She’s got to make her shot. We never got Mackenzie (Stone) going, we never
got Valerie (Ross) going. Just an overall bad night.”
Sweetwater jumped out to a 16-6 lead heading into the second quarter after the Lady Steers missed 14 shots from the field. Early in the second, though, a LaShaunte Anderson 3-pointer and a basket from Stone had Big Spring only down by four.
But Sweetwater had its own version of Stone and Ross.
Browning found ways to get open from the 3-point line and hit a few big shots in the first half to make sure the Lady Mustangs stayed ahead. She had a game-high four 3-pointers and all of them came in the first half.
Meanwhile, Stone and Ross never got hot from the the 3-point line for Big Spring. Ritchey couldn’t get a clear shot in the paint, either.
The former was what worried Sweetwater head coach Jerry McSherry the most.
“Originally we went in trying to shut down their 3-point shooters,” he said. “I thought my post could do a decent enough job on the inside. They did a pretty good job. Then we just kind of stayed between them and the basket. Tuitt did a great job getting in the middle of the paint.”
McKoy soon took the place of Browning, scoring 12 of her 16 points in the second half.
The Lady Steers didn’t have a player score in double-digits, with Ritchey’s six being the team-high.
Warren said it was more than a bad shooting night. Sweetwater out-hustled the Lady Steers and it won’t get easier. The head coach expects Snyder to be a tougher team than Sweetwater Friday.
“We just need to get in the gym and practice hard and just go play,” Warren said. “Not worry about a record, not worry about anything. Just go play, try to get better.
“Good things are still going to happen for us. We still have some good games. You go through a lull every season. You play around 25 to 30 games. Not a good time to have one.”