SEATTLE - Coach Mike Roettger's biggest fear yesterday on the drive to Seattle was wondering how his Lady Vikes would respond after dropping a lopsided decision to Zillah just before Christmas.
"That and the long drive over the pass," Roettger said of the fatigue that might settle in after spending three hours cramped in a van.
Any ill effects were quickly brushed aside, however, as the Mabton High School girls basketball team eked out a 72-68 double overtime victory over the Seattle Christian Warriors, hosts of the four-team holiday tournament in which the Lady Vikes were invited to compete. Wednesday's victory propels 1A Mabton (5-3) into today's 4 p.m. championship game against 2B Shoreline Christian, which knocked off 3A Mountain View of Auburn in the other tourney game yesterday.
In defeating the host Warriors on Wednesday, Roettger gives much of the credit to the defensive play of his Lady Vikes. "We pressed for 40 minutes," he said in explaining how Mabton forced Seattle Christian into 35 turnovers. "Defensively, we had everyone on the team all over the floor.
"Their coach afterwards said they weren't used to seeing that kind of pressure," Roettger said.
Roettger did go on to say that had his Lady Vikings been able to convert the numerous turnovers into buckets, the game never would have gone into overtime.
"If we hadn't missed 20 lay-ins it wouldn't have been close," he said.
Despite not hitting many of their breakaway shots, the Lady Vikes still found themselves up by nine late in the fourth quarter.
"But for whatever reason we took some possessions off. I think we had a mental breakdown," Roettger said of Seattle Christian's effort to make up the nine-point deficit and send the game to OT.
Both clubs popped in 10 points in the first overtime session, and it was 5'7" sophomore post Trishi Williams who accounted for most of Mabton's buckets. Williams canned seven of her 21 points in that first overtime.
The second OT it was Lady Viking teammate Teresa Flores' time to shine. The diminutive 5'2" freshman guard hit a shot from the field and made 4-of-5 from the free throw line, scoring six of her 11 points down the stretch to help lead Mabton to an 11-7 scoring advantage in the final overtime.
Although Flores and Williams stepped up big in the latter stages of the game, it was 5'6" sophomore guard Ana Jimenez who carried the scoring load for Mabton early on. Jimenez ripped the nets for a game high 30 points, 12 of them coming in the opening quarter, when the Lady Vikes overcame a five-point deficit to forge a 17-13 lead heading into the second stanza of play. Nearly half of Jimenez's 30 points came from the foul line, as she connected on 13-of-16 tosses.
To hang in and get the win against Seattle Christian (6-1), said Roettger, is a big confidence builder for his club, considering the Warriors were unbeaten going into yesterday's game and are looking for a second straight trip to the 1A State tournament.
Mabton 17 15 9 10 10 11 -72
Seattle Chr. 13 10 12 16 10 7 -68
FT-Mabton 24/47, Seattle Christian 11/19. Rbds.-Mabton 49 (T. Williams 13), Seattle Christian 42. TO-Seattle Christian 35.
Mabton: Campbell 0, Flores 11, Jimenez 30, T. Williams 21, Sotelo 0, Tellez 0, Martinez 0.
Seattle Christian: A. Abe 15, T. Homad 15, N. Simpson 17, M. Collier 6.