DUGWAY — For the last two seasons, the Dugway Mustangs have struggled.
Last year they won just one game and then lost a coin toss to get into the last crossover game.
They had a new coaching staff with different ideas and no returning starters. Through the normal attrition of graduations and kids moving they lost 10 kids from the previous team.
Entering the 2010-2011 season once again the Mustangs had a new coaching staff. One starter from the previous season did not return, while new kids that either had not played or not played for a while showed up the first day.
The season has had a lot of challenges. From the beginning of the season the coaching staff experimented with several different starting line-ups, including bringing three up from the junior varsity.
Last week Dugway and Wendover met and postseason play was on the line. With a win the Mustangs secure a crossover game, and if Wendover won, the two teams would meet again for a chance to make the playoffs, but this time the loser would be out.
Dugway’s starting five had only started together one other time, and that was the game before against West Ridge Academy.
Using a half court press Dugway jumped out to an early lead that held until half at 22-16.
In the second half, Wendover (2-16, 0-7) chipped away at the lead and eventually led by a point the end of the third. The Mustangs fought back and regained the lead that they would not relinquish again in earning the 41-38 win.
Free throws ended up being the deciding factor.
The Mustangs needed some clutch free throws and senior Cody Billings stepped up and drilled 6-of-7 from the charity stripe.
Sammy Peterson paced the Mustangs with 12 points, while Billings and Josh Johnson added eight points each. Antonio Escareno led Wendover with nine points.
With this win Dugway (2-14, 2-4) doubled last season’s effort, put a home win in the books and secured a chance at postseason play.
The Mustangs close out the regular season next week with a home game with Tintic on Tuesday, Feb. 22 and at Wasatch Academy on Friday, Feb. 24.
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