The Mabton High School Lady Vikings didn't make staying on top of the B league easy for the Sunnyside Christian High School Lady Knights Tuesday. The visiting Mabton team kept pace with the Lady Knights, pushing them to their limits and making the Sunnyside team work hard for the first-place ensuring victory.
Ultimately, the Lady Knights managed to stay one step ahead of the Lady Vikings, finishing the game with a 50-43 victory.
"They made us look bad at times," Sunnyside Christian Coach Al Smeenk said about the Mabton team.
He noted that the Lady Vikings played well Tuesday, applying pressure to the Sunnyside Christian team throughout the entire game.
"Their defensive intensity was right there," Smeenk said.
He noted that during the first half of the game the Lady Knights spent time trying to stay ahead of the Mabton girls.
The Lady Vikings took a lead early in the game and led for most of the first half, according to Mabton Coach Brett Simpson.
In the last minute of play before halftime, the Knights came back and were up by two going into the break.
Mabton was able to get within three points of the Lady Knights a few times after intermission, but the Vikes were unable to regain the lead.
"They played pretty well offensively and defensively," said Simpson of his team.
Simpson said the game was great for both Mabton and Sunnyside Christian.
Smeenk said the Mabton team proved to a be a difficult team for the Lady Knights to control because the Lady Vikes had a good defense, were taking good shots and worked hard.
Smeenk said the Mabton defense was so good that the team was able to force the Lady Knights to turn over the ball numerous times.
"We had 18 turnovers...part of that was their defensive pressure," Smeenk said, noting that there were times when the Lady Knights were in the lead by 10 points, only to have the Lady Vikings create a turnover and score.
Scoring for the Lady Knights were senior Hilary Hughes with 17 points and 11 rebounds, junior Tyssyna Van Wingerden with 14 points and 12 rebounds and sophomore Emma Hernandez with 13 points.
Leading the Mabton team was Diana Lopez with 12 points. Erica Sanchez and Betsy Fisher each scored 8 points for the Lady Vikings.
"Fisher was kind of a spark plug for us," said Simpson.
With at least four steals in the game, Fisher was able to lead Mabton in their rallying for points.
"She was kind of like our little Energizer bunny," said Simpson.
As the last game in Mabton's season, he said the game could have gone two ways, the girls could have folded up and quit or gone out with a bang, said Simpson.
"There were a couple of time in the game I thought the girls would fold, but they kept fighting back," said Simpson of his team.
Other scorers for Mabton were Adriana Cardenas, who scored 6 points, Alida Mendoza who scored 5 points and Michelle Tellez and Anna Montelongo who each scored two points.
The Lady Vikes end their season 7-6, 8-12.
"We had the same season record we had last year, only last year we won more non-league games," said Simpson.
The six league losses for Mabton have been to the teams seeded first, second and third in their league.
The Lady Knights will play their final regular season game Friday night against LaSalle. Smeenk explained that if the Sunnyside Christian girls lose to LaSalle, the Lady Knights will be in a three-way tie for first place but will be the third seed at districts.
Smeenk said to prepare for the upcoming match-up the team is working on handling pressure and breaking the press.
. Elena Olmstead can be contacted at (509) 837-4500, or e-mail her at email@example.com