YAKIMA - Early in the third quarter of yesterday's 1A State quarter-final game between the Mabton Vikings and Cascade Christian Cougars, the Vikings made a run for it.
Trailing 24-14 at halftime, Mabton erased the eight-point deficit to tie the contest at 28 midway through the quarter when Kristian Carrasco hit a 3-point shot. But just 19 seconds later Cascade Christian's Cody Shackett saw his 3-point attempt drop and the Cougars never looked back.
"When they (Cascade Christian) got the lead back we were never able to recover from that," Mabton Coach Brock Ledgerwood said. "They were able to stretch the lead back out and we never got closer than five points."
The Cougars are fast and big. Their roster lists eight players at least six feet tall, with one player, Shawn Spencer, listed as 6'8". The Vikings are known for their speed, as well. But one thing Mabton isn't known for is its height. Not one player on the Mabton roster is six feet.
The Vikings might have used their quickness to neutralize the Cougars' speed and height, but the ball just wouldn't fall for Mabton. In the first quarter the game was tied 6-6 when Cascade Christian went on a 9-0 run to close out the quarter. Mabton missed six shots and turned the ball over twice during that run.
In the second quarter the Vikings played even with the Cougars and managed to cut the nine-point lead to eight points by halftime.
To start the third Mabton went on its run and used up its luck to tie the game midway through the third. That's when the Cougars took over.
"Team-wise, they defended very well," Ledgerwood said. "We had some great shot opportunities, we just couldn't get the ball to fall."
Cascade Christian out-muscled the Vikings on the glass, recording 45 rebounds to Mabton's 38. All the other statistics were fairly even, except shooting percentages.
Mabton shot just 28 percent from the floor in the first half, including going 0-for-2 from behind the 3-point arc. The second half wasn't much better, but the Vikings' shooting did improve to 33 percent.
Meanwhile, the Cougars shot 39 percent from the field in the first half and 43 percent in the second.
Mabton was led by Jesus Huecias with 13 points and four rebounds. Carrasco, the team's leading scorer, was held to 11 points and four rebounds, but had five turnovers. Josh Sanchez added eight points and grabbed seven rebounds. Carmen Johnson scored seven points and grabbed 11 rebounds for the Vikings. Josh Strickland had three points and teammate Lorenzo Sanchez finished with two points.
Cascade Christian was led by Shackett with 26 points and seven rebounds. T.J. Tuttle added 15 points for the Cougars. Ty King scored nine points for Cascade Christian, Spencer added seven points and grabbed 11 rebounds, and teammate Jordan Kushan added two points.
The loss puts Mabton in the consolation bracket, where the Vikes were scheduled to play Nooksack Valley at 12:15 p.m. today (Friday). A win would move the Vikings into the fourth/sixth place game tomorrow (Saturday). A loss would end their season.