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Mabton boys drop two games at holiday invitational

SEATTLE - The Mabton High School boys basketball team traveled to Seattle last Friday to compete in the Seattle Christian Holiday Invitational.

On Friday Mabton played host Seattle Christian High School, losing 46-32.

"You never know quite what to expect when you travel across the state to play Seattle Christian, who is a perennial state contender," Mabton Coach Brock Ledgerwood said. "Our goal was to force an up tempo game and utilize our speed to negate their size advantage."

The Vikings were able to compete against the Warriors and played well defensively but struggled to put the ball in the basket.

The Vikings were a horrible 2-for-13 from the field in the first quarter and the Warriors were able to jump to a 12-4 lead after one quarter. Seattle Christian led the entire game after that.

The Vikings were able to force 35 turnovers but just couldn't get the ball to fall in the basket.

"We were getting good shots but they just didn't drop for us in this game," Ledgerwood said.

He said they were not able to take advantage of the opportunities their defense gave them and the offense committed 26 turnovers.

At halftime the Vikings were down 20-12 and Mabton managed to cut the Warrior lead to six points with 30 seconds left in the third quarter, but then gave up a quick four points with costly turnovers. Down 32-21 to start the fourth quarter, Mabton was outscored 14-11 in the final stanza.

Juventino Morfin finished with 10 points for the Vikings. He was followed by Tyler Herrera with seven points, seven rebounds and six steals. Eric Tellez had five points, seven rebounds, six steals and four assists for the Vikings.

Paul Mickleson led the Warriors with 20 points and 12 rebounds.

Mabton was 15-for-50 (30 percent) from the field and was out rebounded 33 to 25 by the Warriors.

On Saturday Mabton played Seaside High School out of Oregon, losing a close one 49-46.

"Seaside is a AA school," Ledgerwood said. "We started out well using our pressure to force turnovers and get our offense going."

Mabton led 10-9 after one quarter but Ledgerwood said the Vikings looked tired and played lazily in the second quarter, when they were outscored 18-5 to go into halftime behind 27-15.

"We quit pressuring the ball, blocking out and running our offense," he said.

In the third quarter the Vikings rebounded somewhat and started to cut into Seaside's lead. Mabton outscored Seaside 17-10 in the fourth quarter and closed to within two points with two minutes left in the game.

"We came up empty on three possessions with a chance to tie," Ledgerwood said.

With two seconds left and down by three points, Mabton had a chance at a three-point shot but the ball rolled around the rim and fell out to end the game.

Tellez led the Vikings with 16 points, eight rebounds and five steals. Morfin finished with 12 points, with nine of those coming in the fourth quarter, and four steals. Enrique Huecias had eight points for the Vikings and Luis Quintero finished with four points and six rebounds.

"We came out with a lot of energy in the first quarter and ran our zone offense effectively and played solid defense," Ledgerwood explained. "I was proud of our kids how they responded in the second half. We dug deep for some energy and kept battling. Our effort kept us in the game and gave us an opportunity to tie at the end of the game."

Mabton (1-1, 3-6) will travel to Cle Elum Friday, Jan. 5, for a 7:30 p.m. game.

"Although we came away from the tournament without a win, we learned a lot about ourselves as a team," Ledgerwood added. "Playing this type of competition in an intense atmosphere like this will help us get through a tough upcoming league schedule and help us get to the district tournament."

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