TOPPENISH - Weekends like the one the Mabton boys basketball team just experienced are best had now and not later as the Vikings split a pair of games last weekend.
On Friday, Mabton took on the Yakama Nation Eagles in a league game.
"We played our worst game of the season," Mabton Coach Brock Ledgerwood said of the 59-47 Viking victory. "We played very timid, almost like we were scared."
No stats were available for this game but Mabton jumped to a 15-13 lead after one quarter. The Eagles played tough.
"I think that had a lot to do with the fact they have nothing to lose," Ledgerwood said. "They are now 2-6 in our league and in last place. The last time we played them one of our guys got thrown down on a lay-up and he is still hurt. One of our guys sprained an ankle in the first quarter and after that, we played as if we were scared of getting hurt if we attached the basket."
Still, the Vikings led by 8 points, 32-24 at halftime.
"It was a lot closer than the 94-56 win at home," Ledgerwood said.
The Eagles made a run at the Vikings' lead late in the third quarter, cutting the lead to 2 points midway through the fourth quarter.
"At that time we responded and quickly stretched the lead back to our final margin of 12 points," Ledgerwood added.
Andy Rodriguez led the Vikings with 19 points and 5 steals. Eric Tellez poured in 12 points for the Vikings and snagged 6 rebounds. Ricardo Mejia added 7 points.
"It is tough to play a rough team that has nothing to lose," Ledgerwood said. "We played scared and we played without passion but give Yakama Tribal credit, they played hard and never quit coming at us."
On Saturday, Mabton traveled to Stevenson to make up a ono-league game canceled last Dec. 20.
The first quarter was fast and furious as the Bulldogs jumped to a 5-0 lead to start the game. After that Stevenson held a four to five point lead for most of the quarter until Mabton game back and tied the score at 24 to end the first quarter.
"It was a shootout for the most part," Ledgerwood said. "It's their style of basketball."
The Bulldogs outscored the Vikings by five points in the second quarter to take a five-point lead at halftime.
"We responded defensively in the third quarter and took a four-point lead into the fourth quarter," Ledgerwood said.
Mabton held the lead until the last three minutes, when some costly turnovers by the Vikings led to easy hoops for the Bulldogs and Stevenson was able to come away with an 81-75 win.
Alex Zavala scored 29 points for the Vikings. Tyler Herrera added 12 points of his own and Tellez had 10 points. Enrique Huecias and Luis Quintero each added 9 points.
"Alex was a force offensively in the first half," Ledgerwood explained. "He attacked the basket well and hit a few open 3's. Stevenson really clamped down on him after halftime."
Ledgerwood said Stevenson is a very athletic team, and controlled the tempo for most of the game.
"We are pleased to get out of this weekend with a league win and still healthy," Ledgerwood said. "We need to step up our game and take care of Bickleton this Friday and then avenge our only league loss against Riverside Christian on Saturday."
Mabton (8-1, 13-4) can clinch no less than second place with two victories this weekend.