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Mabton advances to Regionals by knocking off vaunted Leopards

GIRLS PREP BASKETBALL

TOPPENISH – The Mabton girls basketball team keeps its hopes of competing in the 1A State tournament alive, having claimed third-place honors in the District tournament this past Saturday.

The Lady Vikes ended Zillah’s season, securing a 56-46 win and the final berth into the Regional tournament to be played this coming weekend.

Mabton (18-5) will compete against defending State champion Brewster, this coming Friday at Wenatchee High School. Tip-off will be at 6 p.m.

This past Saturday against the highly favored Leopards, who finished as this year’s runners-up in SCAC league play, Mabton opened the game with a 20-11 run.

“We knew going into this game that things would be physical and hard fought…we connected on three 3-point shots early in the game and that broke the ice,” said Lady Vikes coach Chris McCallum.

He said, “Zillah is a great team and we knew we would have to play really good to beat them.”

The second quarter went Zillah’s way. The Leopards nearly took the lead, but Mabton held them off to end the first half with a 27-26 lead.

“We knew we had to start fast and score early,” McCallum said. The second period proved just how right the Lady Vikings were.

McCallum said Mabton got a little out of sync during the second period. The Lady Vikings committed some bad turnovers and started to press a little, which provided Zillah an opening in the final three minutes of the first half.

Mabton held onto its lead, outscoring the Leopards 13-11 in the third stanza.

McCallum attributes the success on Saturday to a great offensive attack and causing miscues for Zillah, which got into foul trouble early in the game.

However, the Leopards were ready to claw their way out of the deficit. They took to the hardwood in the fourth quarter and went on an 8-2 run to tie the game at 42 with just six minutes remaining on the clock.

“Irene Pineda (of the Lady Vikings) hit a three-point shot to give us a 45-42 lead and it was all downhill after that,” said McCallum, stating Pineda gave Mabton the final spark it needed to win the game.

Her trey started a 12-2 run for the Lady Vikings. Teammates Alyssa Nash and Desanay Guerrero “…took over,” according to McCallum.

Nash drained a shot from beyond the 3-point arc and Guerrero snatched the ball from the offensive boards for several putbacks.

McCallum said the Lady Vikings still, however, need to sink the charity shots. They only scored six points on 16 attempts from the free throw line.

Nash was the leading scorer with a game-high 19 points, Guerrero got a double-double adding 12 points to the final tally and securing 11 rebounds. Mabton teammate Soila Zaragoza contributed another 11 points to the score.

For Zillah, it was Megan True who scored a team-high 12 points. She had a double-double with 12 rebounds. Teammate Monica Villegas scored 10 points.

McCallum, in regards to this coming Friday’s Regional tournament game against Brewster, said his club knows it has its work cut for it in terms of advancing on to State.

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