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Mabton girls still fighting for No. 5 seed into playoffs

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Mabton sophomore Ana Jimenez drives the ball past a Zillah defender last Friday night. Jimenez tossed in a game high 24 points in the 63-44 loss to the Leopards. The following night, Jimenez canned 17 points in a 51-46 loss to Cle Elum.

MABTON - Those in the know figured the move up this season from the class 'B' ranks to the tough class 'A' SCAC West Conference would pose a major challenge for the Mabton High School girls basketball team.

The Lady Vikings, however, are showing Valley prep hoop fans they're up to that challenge, as they're currently in a heated race for the league's fifth and final berth into the District tournament.

Mabton scared the daylights out of always tough Zillah last Friday before succumbing by a 63-44 score, which clearly wasn't indicative of how close the game was. Saturday, the Lady Vikings hosted their second straight league game, only to come out on the short end of a 51-46 score against Cle Elum.

The two losses were a bitter pill for the Lady Vikes (4-6, 8-9) to swallow, but according to Mabton Coach Mike Roettger, all is not lost.

"The No. 5 seed into the playoffs is there for us," Roettger said. "All we have to do is take care of business."

That means giving either Naches or Granger a good game this coming weekend. Roettger's Lady Vikes dropped a close 57-51 decision to Naches back on Jan. 6, and hung tough with Granger two weeks ago before settling for a 10-point loss. Mabton will close out the regular season the following week against Highland and Goldendale, two teams the Lady Vikes have already defeated in league play.

"We clearly have a shot at getting into the postseason," said Roettger. "If our kids play their tails off the way they did last Friday against Zillah, we can compete against anybody."

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