Vikings make a statement

GOLDENDALE - With their backs against the wall, Mabton High School boys basketball Coach Brock Ledgerwood admittedly didn't know which one of his teams was going to show up last night in the opening round of the Greater Columbia 'B' League District playoffs.

Would it be the team that dazzled fans for much of the season or would it be the group of players that struggled in the last few games.

Well, the Vikings didn't disappoint their coach, as Ledgerwood got the performance from his team that rose Mabton to as high as fourth in the state rankings earlier this year.

Mabton bounced Trout Lake from the postseason with a dominating 64-47 victory over the Mustangs, in a game that wasn't as close as the final score indicates.

"We finally relaxed a little," said Ledgerwood. "Overall, I was happy with the way we moved and shared the ball."

The Vikings used a 23-4 run in the third quarter to put away the Mustangs. In the past few weeks, Mabton has had trouble getting out of the gates to start the second half.

What was notable about last night's showing by the Vikings is that Mabton has struggled matching up against Trout Lake in the past, keeping several of the team's encounters close.

There was no match-up problems last night, as the Vikings finally decided it was time to play Mabton basketball.

The win by Mabton last night sets up another go-around with top seeded Sunnyside Christian Friday night at Sunnyside High School in the nightcap of the second round of Districts at 8:15 p.m.

While several players came to the forefront for Mabton last night, it has to be the performance of Ryan Harris that stands out the most.

Harris stepped up in grand fashion for the Vikings, having a breakthrough game of sorts for Mabton. Harris finished with 12 points, nine rebounds and five blocked shots. Harris scored 7 of his 12 points in the opening quarter.

"He really got us going," said Ledgerwood. "Ryan really stepped up. He played an outstanding game."

Harris' performance was complemented by the work of teammate A.J. Valencia, who scored all 18 of his points in the second half. Alex Zavala led Mabton on the night in scoring with 23 points.

Running the show for the Vikings was Pedro Huecias, who had nine assists.

"Pedro did a really good job of running the team for us," said Ledgerwood.

Ledgerwood also praised Huecias for keeping his teammates involved in the game, especially Valencia in the second half.

All facets of the game were working well for the Vikings last night, said Ledgerwood. Ledgerwood said Mabton was able to get things going defensively, which fed into the Vikings' offense.

"We just seemed to step up," said Ledgerwood. "I was happy with the kids.

Ledgerwood feels if his team can play together as a unit like the Vikings did last night this coming weekend, then Mabton stands a good chance of grabbing a berth to Regionals.

"We win one game and we are in Regionals," said Ledgerwood.

Friday night's go-around with the Knights will be the third time the two teams have met this season. Ledgerwood said the key for his team will be composure while making good decisions and to make Sunnyside Christian work on both ends of the floor.

"We need to try and be patient offensively and play some tough defense," said Ledgerwood.

The winner of Friday night's game between Mabton and Sunnyside Christian will take on the winner of the Riverside Christian and Lyle game for the District championship on Saturday at Sunnyside High School at 8:15 p.m. The losers of the two contests on Friday night will play Saturday at 4:45 p.m. for the third and final berth into Regionals the following weekend at Ellensburg High School.

1 2 3 4 T

Mabton 15 15 23 13 64

Trout Lake 10 11 4 22 47

Scoring: Mabton-Alex Zavala 23, A.J. Valencia 18, Ryan Harris 12, Eric Tellez 6, Ricardo Mejia 5, Luis Quintero 2.

Trout Lake-Matt Dearden 16, Kris Huffsmith 11.

Rebounds: Ryan Harris 9, Alex Zavala 6.

Assists: Pedro Huecias 9, Alex Zavala 5, Ricardo Mejia 4.


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