A defeat at the hands of Kiona-Benton last Friday, as well as the loss of sparkplug Teresa Flores, didn't prevent the Mabton High School girls basketball team from shredding the Riverview Panthers on Saturday, 48-26.
This past weekend's split of the two non-league games left the Lady Vikings at .500 on the season, at 2-2. Mabton looks to climb above the .500 mark tomorrow (Tuesday) when the team hosts class B Moses Lake Christian.
In dropping the first game of the weekend to the visiting Ki-Be Bears, via a 64-54 score, Mabton saw its 5'2" freshman guard, Flores, go down with a nasty injury to her head. Diving for a loose ball, Flores sustained a gash to her forehead. Requiring about a dozen stitches to close the wound, it's expected Flores will be out of action until at least next week.
Mabton was up on the Bears when Flores hit the floor hard in the second quarter. Her leaving the game, said Lady Viking Coach Mike Roettger, played a part in Ki-Be mounting a come-from-behind win.
"The complexion of the game changed when Flores had to come out," Roettger said.
"But we expect her back soon," he continued. "She's tough as nails. Not a tear out of her when she got split wide open. I'd have been bawling like a baby."
Ki-Be ended up closing to within a single point, at 31-30, by the time intermission rolled around. The Bears, behind Sarah Vannon's team high 22 points and the 13 points popped in by Catalina Caitlia, kept the momentum going after the halftime break to forge a 41-37 lead through the third quarter. Ki-Be closed out the game by posting a 23-17 advantage in the final stanza.
Despite the 10-point loss to the much taller Bears, Roettger said his club made the visitors work for every basket they got.
"We played our hearts out," he said. "One of the things we want to do each game is to make sure the other team knew they played the Lady Vikings. Win or lose, we want the other team to know they've been in a game."
With the height advantage Ki-Be had on the Lady Vikes some would have expected the Bears to pack the ball inside. For the most part, however, Mabton took away Ki-Be's inside game.
"We fronted their post well," said Roettger, "And we got good weak-side help every time their big girl touched the ball."
As a result, Ki-Be had to turn to the guard Vannon, who caught fire and pumped in 22 points to lead her team to the victory.
Mabton countered with the scoring touch of 5'6" sophomore Ana Jimenez. She poured in a game high 30 points, which included knocking down 10 of the 22 points Mabton scored in the opening period and a 14-point outburst in the final quarter. The Lady Vikes also got a double-digit scoring performance from 5'3" senior guard Talisa Sotelo, who dropped in 10 points.
Saturday at Riverview the game went Mabton's way, but it wasn't the prettiest of efforts.
"Truthfully, it was the ugliest game I've ever been involved with," Roettger said. "There were a total of 55 fouls called. I told one of the refs that there were more fouls called in this game than the first three games we've played this season."
Luckily, the Lady Vikes were pretty much on the mark from the free throw stripe, hitting 20-of-31 foul shots for the game. Jimenez ended up as Mabton's top free throw shooter, nailing 8-of-13. She finished with 16 points.
The top gun for Mabton against the Panthers was 5'7" sophomore post Trishi Williams. She fired in a game high 22 points, which included a 6-for-8 effort from the foul line.
Williams, who along with her older sister Shari sit out Friday night games because of commitments to their church, made her presence felt in other areas, too, against the Panthers on Saturday. The sophomore scraped down eight rebounds off the boards and came away with a team high six steals.
Freshman Monica Tellez, Mabton's other post player at 5'6" tall, also had a big game with her team high 12 rebounds. Tellez, too, tallied 5 points for her club against Riverview.
In looking ahead to tomorrow night's non-league game against visiting Moses Lake Christian, Roettger said his Lady Vikes will use the opportunity to work on fine-tuning their defensive press.
"And we'll work on a few other things besides our press," he said, "Like switching from our straight man coverage to some zone defenses. Right now we're too one-dimensional.
"Overall, we just need to get basketball smart. We're a young team, real young, but hopefully it will all start coming together for us," Roettger added.
Ki-Be 13 17 11 23 -64
Mabton 22 9 6 17 -54
Mabton: Campbell 7, Enriquez 0, Flores 2, Lupercio 2, Jimenez 20, Sotelo 10, Tellez 0, Reynolds 3, Gutierrez 0, Martinez 0.
Mabton 11 8 10 18 -48
Riverview 5 8 5 8 -26
Mabton: Campbell 0, Enriquez 1, S. Williams 0, Lupercio 0, Jimenez 16, Sotelo 2, Tellez 5, T. Williams 22, Cerda 0, Reynolds 2.