A 69-59 loss at home last Friday to the SCAC West-leading Zillah Leopards could have taken the stuffing out of the Mabton Lady Vikings. Instead, the Mabton girls hoop team bounced back on Saturday in Cle Elum's gym to dismantle the Warriors, 66-27.
The weekend's split of the two league games leaves the Lady Vikes with a conference mark of 4-6, 9-7 overall. Mabton has three league games this week and figures it must come away with victories in at least two of them to secure a home game in the first round of the playoffs.
"We're tied with White Swan for fifth right now," said Mabton Coach Mike Roettger. "We need to finish in fourth to host a playoff game."
The road to playing a postseason game in their own gym starts this Tuesday for the Lady Vikings, when Naches rolls into town. The Rangers, in their own gym, defeated Mabton in overtime back on Jan. 8. This coming Friday, Mabton treks to Highland, 65-50 winners over the Lady Vikes back on Jan. 12. Mabton will then take on second place Granger this Saturday in the Yakima SunDome. The Spartans knocked off Mabton by a 49-33 score on Jan. 11.
"We've got our work cut out for us this week," Roettger said. "But all three of our opponents this week are beatable. Our kids know what they have to do. It's time for us to go to work."
If the Lady Vikes play anything like they did at Cle Elum, they'll make short work of their three league foes this week. Mabton opened Saturday's game by employing a full-court press against the Warriors, which resulted in the Lady Vikes forging an 18-1 first quarter lead.
About two minutes into the second quarter Roettger called off the press, with his team up by about 20.
"We just kinda rolled from there," he said in explaining his team's 41-10 halftime lead.
Roettger emptied his bench about two minutes into the third quarter, and his reserves preserved the victory by outscoring Cle Elum 25-17 in the second half.
Three Mabton girls scored in double-digits against Cle Elum...Ana Jimenez with a team high 19 points, Trishi Williams with 13 and Crysta Reynolds with 11 points. Kayla Campbell and Melissa Gutierrez each added a seven-point effort for Mabton.
Cle Elum's 6'1" Amanda Potts had a team high 12 points for the Warriors.
In last Friday's 69-59 loss to league leading and undefeated Zillah, the Lady Vikes were unable to stop the visitors from scoring.
"We played well," said Roettger, "But they shot lights out.
"We just couldn't get a stop, especially in the first half.
"From an offensive production standpoint, our numbers weren't that bad. Most girls basketball games when you score 59 points, you get a win."
The Leopards shot at a lofty 59 percent clip from the field, including going 5-for-7 from treyland. All told, five Zillah girls were in double-figures in the scoring column.
Mabton had two players score in double-figures, one of whom was senior Debbie Enriquez with 10 points. But it was the junior Jimenez who spearheaded the Lady Vikings' charge against Zillah. She tossed in a career best 31 points against the Leopards.
Jimenez also became just the fourth Lady Viking hoopster ever to top 1,000 points in her prep career. The other three are former Mabton standouts Gayla Boast, Rita Garcia and Selena Garza.
Jimenez reached the 1,000-point plateau 30 seconds into the second quarter, when she bombed in a 3-pointer from the corner.