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Naches Valley, Granger too tough for Viking boys

After two straight wins, the Mabton Vikings fell twice last weekend, 51-47 against Naches Valley and 59-49 to Granger.

"Give Naches a lot of credit," Mabton Coach Brock Ledgerwood said. "They played tough defense in the first half and that forced our poor shooting and some costly turnovers. Our defense did not step up in the first half when our offense was struggling and that pus us in a hole we could not dig out of."

Naches Valley jumped to a 12-3 lead after one quarter and led 22-13 at halftime.

"We had a few opportunities to get back into the game," Ledgerwood said. "We cut the lead to 10 points four minutes into the half."

Ledgerwood added two missed lay-up opportunities hurt them down the stretch.

Ledgerwood said Mabton employed full-court pressure on Naches Valley and that was instrumental to their comeback attempt.

Mabton outscored Naches Valley 16-12 in the third quarter and 18-11 in the fourth but couldn't quite get over the hump.

"We need to play with that intensity throughout the 32-minute game," he added.

Mabton's Eric Tellez finished with 16 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Teammate Juventino Morfin had 11 points and four steals. Tyler Herrera added nine points and stole the ball four times for Mabton.

Nate Clements led Naches with 15 points.

On Saturday, Mabton played Granger in the Yakima SunDome, losing to the Spartans by 10 points.

"We played evenly with league leading Granger for most of the game," Ledgerwood said. "They were led by Mario Mengarelli's 33 points, a career high I believe."

Ledgerwood said Mengarilli was 4-of-5 from the three-point line and 5-of-6 from the free throw line.

The Spartans jumped to a 14-11 lead after one quarter, and were up by two points, 23-21 at halftime.

"We played tough enough defense and scored enough to win, but Mario put up an unbelievable performance, scoring at will and setting up a majority of his teammates' points as well," Ledgerwood added. "Sometimes there is just nothing more you can do to stop a performance like that."

Granger outscored the Vikings by five points in the third quarter and used a 23-19 fourth quarter to put the game away.

"We did a fantastic job of getting to the free throw line this weekend, but we must do a better job of putting them in," Ledgerwood said. "It is playoff time."

Mabton was 9-of-20 at the line Saturday.

Tellez led the Vikings with 15 points and six rebounds. Herrera added nine points and six rebounds and teammate Luis Quintero had five points and eight rebounds.

"Basically our playoffs begin this week," Ledgerwood added. "If we can get two wins at home, we will secure third place and avoid a loser-out, winner to Districts game.

"We control our own destiny for playoff positioning It will be a tough task against two tough teams (Highland and Goldendale) and we will have to play together if we want to get the job done."

Mabton (6-6, 8-11) will host Highland this Tuesday, Feb. 6 and then host Goldendale on Thursday, Feb. 8.

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