LONE GROVE — For the third straight game a sluggish start for Lone Grove proved to be too much to overcome, Tuesday night, as the Longhorns fell 52-49 to the Rock Creek Mustangs.

LONE GROVE — For the third straight game a sluggish start for Lone Grove proved to be too much to overcome, Tuesday night, as the Longhorns fell 52-49 to the Rock Creek Mustangs.

Despite overcoming a 10-point first quarter deficit and fighting back to take a lead with just a minute left in the fourth, a buzzer beating three by Rock Creek extended Lone Grove’s losing streak to three games.

Lone Grove coach John Garrett said he needs his team to put together four solid quarters if they want to get back to their winning ways. 

“We really kind of lacked effort to start the game to tell you the truth,” Garrett said. “Guys started playing harder and we started getting stops, and once we found a rhythm offensively, things got easier. We were a little bit out of sorts to start out the game and it carried over until half time.”

Lone Grove (4-3) trailed 24-16 at the half, but clawed their way back in the third, scoring 16 points to cut the lead to 38-32 going into the fourth quarter. 

Lone Grove’s Shelden Brown found his shooting stroke in the fourth, hitting two corner threes and a couple tough layups in traffic to give the Horns a fourth quarter lead. 

Brown led the Horns with 18 points in the game, while Kemyon Sophus and Austin Felts each scored eight points.

But Rock Creek would tie the game with under 30 seconds left, and after Daniel Howard’s 10-foot jumper with 15 seconds on the clock missed, the Mustangs pulled down the rebound, setting up Rock Creek’s Christian McGowan for the eventual game winning three-point dagger.

“To their (Rock Creek) credit, their kid stepped up and hit a big shot with a hand in his face, so props to them,” Garrett said. 

“We missed a shot with 15 seconds left and they hit a buzzer beater, that’s the difference in the game.”

Lone Grove has been on the winning side of a several dramatic wins this season. Sheleden Brown hit a buzzer beating three in overtime in the season opener, and the Horns clawed their way back and hit clutch free throws down the stretch to come back and beat Dickson earlier this season. 

But Garrett added these fourth quarter comebacks and digging themselves out from early deficits are starting to put stress on his team.

“It’s exhausting for those guys to try to have to dig out,” Garrett said. “It’s so important to have a good start, even if it’s just close, but to start out 8-0, 9-0, we’ve had that start three games in a row now. It’s something we have to figure out, take a look at and make some changes.”

Lone Grove will be at Comanche Friday night in a conference game.