MABTON - The last four days have been a wild ride for the Mabton High School boys basketball team.
The Vikings won their third game in the last four days, defeating Kittitas last night 60-55. The non-league game was finally played last night after being postponed from Jan. 6.
Turnovers were huge for the Vikings. Mabton had nine of its 15 turnovers for the game in the first five minutes. But the Vikings still held tight with the Coyotes, trailing 11-8 at the end of the first quarter.
Mabton Coach Brock Ledgerwood said the Vikings had trouble playing against the active 2-3 zone Kittitas was running.
"We hadn't seen that kind of zone a lot," said Ledgerwood.
The Vikings got some fire under them in the second quarter, exploding on Kittitas for 21 points. Mabton led 29-23 at the end of the first half. A.J. Valencia scored 9 of his 18 points in the second quarter. Teammate Ricardo Huecias had 6 points in the period.
Mabton climbed back into the game by switching into a zone defense of its own.
"That helped us get our running game going," said Ledgerwood. "In the second quarter, we really played hard."
Mabton took the third quarter 19-12 to build on its halftime lead.
Going into the fourth quarter, Mabton led by 13 points, but reverted back to how it was playing in the first quarter. Ledgerwood said Mabton had a couple of turnovers in the fourth quarter.
"We were a step slow," said Ledgerwood. "We got a little complacent on defense."
The Coyotes cut the lead to two points with three minutes to go. Fortunately, Valencia and Andy Rodriguez converted some Coyote miscues on the other end for buckets to extend Mabton's lead.
Despite the hectic schedule of the last few days, Ledgerwood was pleased with the effort and energy his team showed last night.
The Vikings (8-2, 11-6) have an opportunity to secure second place in the Greater Columbia 'B' League's northern division with weekend wins at home over LaSalle (Friday night) and Yakama Tribal (Saturday night).
"We will be in good shape," said Ledgerwood pending the outcome of this weekend's games. "We just have to take care of our business."
The Vikings will end the regular season Tuesday, Feb. 10, at Sunnyside Christian.
. Mike Kantman can be contacted at (509) 837-4500, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
1 2 3 4 T
Kittitas 11 12 12 20 55
Mabton 8 21 19 12 60
Scoring: Mabton-A.J. Valencia 18, Andy Rodriguez 16, Ricardo Huecias 14, Alex Zavala 8, Ryan Harris 4.
Kittitas-Allan Lowe 24.
Rebounds: Pedro Huecias 5, Ricardo Huecias 5.
Assists: A.J. Valencia 5, Ricardo Huecias 4.
Steals: Frankie Mariscal 3, Ricardo Huecias 3.