MABTON - The Mabton High School boys basketball team found out this past Saturday that the sport is sometimes about doing the little things right.
In a back-and-forth battle with 2A Toppenish, the Vikings came out on the short end of the decision, losing 58-51 to the Wildcats.
Toppenish went on a 13-7 run in the fourth quarter to pull away from Mabton.
But, Viking Coach Brock Ledgerwood felt the momentum switched in the third quarter when Toppenish's Chris Gonzalez scored all seven of his points off lay-ins and a free throw. Ledgerwood said the Wildcats scored the buckets off break-aways and really fed off the momentum they created.
Leading 30-29 at the break, the Vikings fell behind when Toppenish outscored Mabton 16-14 in the third quarter.
Despite the woes Mabton had in the fourth period, the Vikings had a chance to tie the score at 54-all with 30 seconds left, but a 3-point shot bounced in and out of the net for Mabton.
The Vikings were a dismal 33 percent from the field Saturday night. Ledgerwood said Toppenish came out with a 1-3-1 zone defense.
"Not a lot of teams run that," said Ledgerwood. "We hadn't seen that all year."
Ledgerwood said the zone defense implemented by the Wildcats didn't allow the Vikings to pass around the ball like they are used to doing in games.
"It was a different kind of zone," said Ledgerwood.
Mabton can also attribute some of the final outcome to problems at the free throw line. The Vikings were 10-of-19 from the charity stripe, missing four freebies, including one 1-and-1 in the fourth quarter. The Wildcats ended up going 9-of-12 from the free throw line.
"It would have been a different game if we made some free throws," said Ledgerwood.
Mabton's A.J. Valencia had little help in the scoring department on Saturday night. The Viking freshman dumped in 21 points while teammate Alex Zavala was the only other Mabton player in double digits with 11 points. However, Andy Rodriguez had a nice game for the Vikes with 8 points, six rebounds, four assists and four steals, but Ledgerwood would have liked to seen the sophomore guard shoot better from the field.
Toppenish's Stuart Reynolds had no problems shooting from the field, racking up a game-high 33 points.
The Vikings (3-1, 5-3) have another non-league game scheduled at home this Saturday against Kittitas. Ledgerwood is expecting a solid game from Kittitas, which is scheduled to have some players back who were missing from the line-up at the beginning of the season.
. Mike Kantman can be contacted at (509) 837-4500, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
1 2 3 4 T
Toppenish 14 15 16 13 58
Mabton 17 13 14 7 51
Scoring: Mabton-A.J. Valencia 21, Alex Zavala 11, Andy Rodriguez 8, Frankie Mariscal 4, Ricardo Huecias 3, Manuel Palacios 2, Andy Cervantes 2.
Toppenish-Stuart Reynolds 33.
Andy Rodriguez had six rebounds, four assists and four steals.