MABTON - The Mabton High School boys basketball team took control with a 21-8 first-quarter run and never looked back in a 75-56 non-league win over Royal last night.
Coach Brock Ledgerwood said the Vikings used a man-to-man trapping defense to gain the upper hand. "Even when they broke our press, we made them take some bad shots the other way."
Though Mabton poured in 25 points in the second stanza, Ledgerwood was concerned about the 20 posted by the Knights. "They didn't shoot any free throws in the first quarter and had 20 in the second," he said.
Mabton's trouble started, he says, because of a lack of focus and imitating the rough and tumble style of Royal, fresh off a 1A State football championship.
"We started fouling and playing their game," Ledgerwood observed. "We were able to hold on, but we need to learn how to win and put teams away."
Last night's win was the first of the season for Mabton, now 1-3 for the year.
Mabton led 46-28 at the half and played Royal virtually even in the third quarter to have the game all but put away, up 58-41 heading into the final eight minutes.
"We finally shot the ball well," the coach said of the win. "We were getting some lay-ins and forcing turnovers, which led to some good shots."
The Vike's new-found eagle eye especially benefited Michael Conradt, who poured in a career-high 16 points to go with six rebounds. Juventino Morfin led Mabton with 17 points and seven assists. Frankie Smith tallied 15 points for the Vikings.
Mabton also had a season-best performance from behind the three-point arc, knocking down 6-of-16 attempts.
Royal was led by Marc Albertson and Blair Collins with 17 and 15 points, respectively.
Mabton will look to continue its winning ways this Friday when it opens SCAC West league play at White Swan.
Royal 8 20 13 15 - 56
Mabton 21 25 12 17 - 75
FG-Royal 21/50, Mabton 29/56. 3-PT FG-Royal 2/7, Mabton 6/16. FT-Royal 11/24, Mabton 13/25. RBD-Royal 40, Mabton 13 (Conradt 6).
Royal: M. Albertson 17, B. Collins 15.
Mabton: J. Morfin 17, M. Conradt 16, F. Smith 15, Z. Peralez 9, K.. Carrasco 7, L. Rodriguez 4, H. Brambila 3,
G. Sosa 2, R. Sanchez 2.