NACHES -The Mabton girls hoop team's hopes of making Districts was on the line as they traveled to Naches last night (Thursday).
"We knew it was going to be a tough game," commented Chris McCallum.
His team, however, prevailed 45-42.
"It was a good game...we made our free throws when we needed to and we hung together," McCallum shared.
The two teams got off to a slow start with the Lady Rangers taking a 10-7 lead in the opening quarter.
The Lady Vikings, though, put themselves into a good position going into the half after outscoring their host 21-9 in the second quarter. The halftime score was 28-19, giving Mabton some room for error going into the third quarter.
To gain the advantage, McCallum said Lady Vike Jazzee Sustaita "...hit a big three and followed it up with a lay in, helping our spirits."
Naches converted to a man defense and Mabton found the rim, according to the coach.
He said, "Crysta (Reynolds) and Melissa (Gutierrez) went to work."
Reynolds scored seven of her team-high 15 points in the second quarter, and Gutierrez slipped five of her 10 points through the net in that period.
The third quarter was rough for both teams, according to McCallum. He said the defense picked up on both ends and his team got into some foul trouble, with his two shooters taking to the bench for much of the quarter.
"We had a hard time finding the bucket, and so did Naches...they only scored eight points," the coach shared.
Mabton was held to three points in the third quarter.
"We got our butts kicked in rebounds," McCallum continued, stating his team was down eight boards in the third quarter.
In the final quarter of the game, the Lady Vikes picked themselves up and battled for the win.
"We out-rebounded the Rangers by four, Monica Tellez had eight boards in that quarter," McCallum explained.
Tellez tallied 11 balls from the glass overall.
Naches took a 41-40 lead in the fourth quarter, but the Lady Vikes were not to be outdone.
"Crysta drove the lane, found Monica for a lay in and Monica got a free throw," McCallum recalled.
Tellez missed a free throw and Reynolds picked the ball from the glass for a put-back, scoring two points.
The Lady Rangers took possession, but the Lady Vikings stole the ball and Sustaita was fouled. She got a one-point basket for the final 45-42 score.
Mabton had 12 steals and was 13-for-22 from the free throw line against Naches, but the efforts earned the Lady Vikings a fourth seed in SCAC West District play.
The Lady Vikings travel to Burbank next Thursday, Feb. 18, in double elimination District competition.