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Mabton tied for second in SCAC West division

The Mabton Vikings boys basketball team played two SCAC West games this past weekend, splitting them and forging a tie for second place with the Goldendale Timberwolves.

The Vikings hosted Naches Valley last Friday night, beating the Rangers 51-50.

Mabton Coach Brock Ledgerwood said the Rangers jumped out to an 8-0 lead early in the first quarter. During the first three minutes of play Ledgerwood said his team was unable to hold on to the ball or hit a shot.

A timeout calmed the Vikings down and Gael Sosa hit a three-point shot, which ignited Mabton. In the next five minutes the Vikings went on a 14-6 run to finish the first quarter with a 14-12 lead.

After that it was a see-saw battle, with Mabton going up by four or five points only to have Naches Valley come back and tie the game. The Rangers took a five-point lead midway through the third quarter and then Mabton's Derrick Nash took over for a few minutes.

Nash hit two consecutive three-point shots and then added another one two possessions later. Nash accounted for 11 of Mabton's 13 points in the third quarter, which gave the Vikings a 36-33 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

The Rangers refused to go away and made a run late in the period to go up by three points. Kristian Carrasco, who struggled all night from the floor, hit an open three-point shot with 42 seconds left to tie the game. Naches Valley wasted no time in bring the ball down the floor and Justen Weigel found his teammate Jeremy Gaudette open and Gaudette made the shot to put the Rangers up by two points.

After a timeout Mabton's Jesus Huecias attacked the basket and he found Carmen Johnson under the hoop. Johnson scored the tying basket and was fouled on the play. He sank the game-winning free throw with nine seconds left in the game to give the Vikings the win.

Nash finished with 15 points and five rebounds. Tyler Herrera had nine points for the Vikings and Johnson finished with seven points.

Josh Sanchez and Carrasco finished with six points each. Josh Strickland added five points for the Vikings. Sosa finished with three points.

Naches Valley was led by Wesston Parker with 16 points and seven rebounds. Gaudette had 10 points and Dereck Huck finished with eight points.

Fresh off Friday night's victory the Vikings traveled to Goldendale on Saturday, where Mabton lost 74-64.

"This was a tough road game for us," Ledgerwood said.

The Vikings committed 28 fouls on the nights and shot just 4-for-7 from the free throw line. The Timberwolves took advantage of the free trips to the charity stripe, going 16-for-29 from the free throw line.

"We did not defend up to our abilities," Ledgerwood said. "We played hard and gave a great effort, but our defense has to be there every night as we can't expect to win giving up 70-plus points."

Giving the Vikings problems was Goldendale's Reed Lindhe, who scored 20 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Ledgerwood said Lindhe was a beast to control and that he scored easily in the post position and also scored from the outside.

The Timberwolves jumped out to an 8-2 lead in the first quarter until Mabton battled back. Still, the Vikings found themselves down by eight points after one quarter.

That proved to be the margin as Mabton battled Goldendale evenly throughout the next three quarters.

"This is the third game in a row that we have gotten down early in the first few minutes of a game," Ledgerwood said. "We have to change our approach to tip off. It is tough to win in the SCAC West when you spot your opponents a lead.

"Goldendale beat us up on the boards and consistently got to the foul line. These are two areas we are continuing to work on and will get better at."

Mabton is now tied with Goldendale for second place in the SCAC West.

"It will be important for us to continue to get better and play hard as every game is a meaningful one from here on out," Ledgerwood added.

Mabton (5-2, 10-5) will host Zillah on Friday, Jan. 29, at 7:30 p.m. The Vikings will then play Granger at the SunDome on Saturday, Jan. 30, as part of Rivalry Saturday at 8:30 p.m.

Tickets for Rivalry Saturday are available at Mabton High School.

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