GOLDENDALE - The Mabton Viking boys basketball team shrugged off a slow start to rally for a 55-48 league win last night at Goldendale.
The host Timberwolves went on a 17-12 second quarter run to take a 25-20 lead at the half of Monday night's game.
"We became complacent on the defensive end early in the second quarter and allowed Goldendale to build an early lead," said Mabton Coach Brock Ledgerwood. "The fact that they shot 28 free throws for the game is testimony that we need to get back to the basic defensive fundamentals to keep them off the charity stripe."
The Vikings turned things around in the second half, trimming the Goldendale lead to just one point, 37-36, heading into the fourth quarter.
The Timberwolves regained the momentum through the first five minutes of the final stanza, leading by as much as six points.
With about three minutes left in the contest Mabton's Kristian Carrasco knocked down a couple of three-pointers to tie the score and just inside two minutes to play Jesus Huecias fed LeeTroy Rodriguez for a three-point play to put Mabton on top for good.
"We were fortunate that we were able to get to the line late in the second half and knock down our free throws as well," Ledgerwood said of his team's turnaround.
A key to the comeback wasn't just scoring, but in limiting Goldendale's leading scorer, Austin Ross, to just seven points - all from the free throw line - for the game.
"I was very happy with the defense J.T. Reynolds put out against Goldendale's leading scorer with some team help," said Ledgerwood.
Carrasco and Reynolds sparked the Vikings with 15 and 14 points, respectively. Reynolds also hauled down eight rebounds and swiped four steals. Huecias dished out six assists.
Mabton improved to 2-1 in league and 9-2 overall with the win. In addition, it vaulted the Vikings into a three-way tie for second place in the SCAC West. Mabton travels to one of the other two teams in second, Highland, this Friday.
"This was a good come from behind win on the road," said Ledgerwood. "Highland plays well at home and we need to be prepared for a 32-minute battle."