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Lady Vikes falter late in season-ending loss

YAKIMA - A fast start wasn't enough for the Mabton Lady Viking basketball team last night in a 52-39 District tourney loss at LaSalle.

Thursday night's loser-out contest saw Mabton jump out to a 15-8 first quarter advantage.

Back came the Lightning with a 15-7 second-stanza run to go up by a point at the half.

It remained a tight game through late in the third quarter, when Mabton came up with a steal late in the third and looked set for an easy lay-up to regain the lead. The Lady Vikes instead missed the gimme and LaSalle answered with an 8-foot jumper the other way to go up by three heading into the fourth frame.

The Lightning sustained that push in the final eight minutes with a 15-5 run to put the game away.

"That gave LaSalle momentum going into the fourth and, combined with our foul trouble, led to a 15 to 5 run in the final period," Mabton Coach Chris McCallum said of the turnabout late in the third quarter and into the fourth.

LaSalle was able to ice the game down the stretch from the free throw line, canning 11-of-13 charity tries. Prior to that, the Lightning were just 1-of-10 from the line.

LaSalle also had the advantage on the boards with a 35-to-26 rebounding edge paced by Julia Garcia's game-high nine rebounds. Kathleen McGree paced the Lightning in the scoring column with 23 points.

Despite ending their season last night, the Lady Vikes (11-12) have plenty of hope for the future as they were sparked by a pair of freshmen. Desanay Guerrero poured in 15 points to go with seven rebounds and four steals for Mabton, while classmate Soila Zaragoza knocked down 14 points and climbed the ladder for five caroms.

"I couldn't be more proud of this group of young ladies," McCallum said of his 2012-13 squad. "We played really hard!!"

The coach says there's still room for improvement, especially on defense where the Lady Vikes next season can work on moving their feet better. "We got caught reaching one too many times," McCallum said. "We just need to learn not to be so hard on ourselves, especially when we lose a lead, and that will come with more experience."

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