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Vikes stay in hunt for playoffs

BOYS PREP BASKETBALL

The Mabton Vikings pulled off back-to-back wins last Friday and Saturday to stay in the hunt for a postseason berth.

On Friday the Vikes fended off host Cle Elum by a score of 62-56. Leading 31-23 at the half, Mabton’s boys hoop team built its advantage to as many as 11 points in the second half, only for the Warriors to battle back to within three points with just over a minute to play.

The Vikings regained momentum down the stretch, connecting on key free throws, to escape with their first SCAC win of the season.

Roy Zavala led Mabton with 18 points, including 12 in the final half, while Luis Ruiz added 13 points for the Vikings. Isaiah Sanchez gave Mabton a key threat from long range, draining 3-of-4 three-point attempts on the way to 9 points.

Nathan Herrera led Mabton in the paint with seven rebounds, while Zavala and Ruiz each dished three assists.

Matt Dillinger and Dalton Hawk paced Cle Elum with 15 points each.

Mabton found it much easier going in Saturday’s 52-33 win over Goldendale. The Vikes raced out to a 21-7 first-quarter lead and never looked back.

“Our pressure defense forced Goldendale into turnovers and missed shots,” said Mabton Coach Brock Ledgerwood. “We did a solid job of rebounding against a much bigger Goldendale team and ran the break for easy baskets.”

Sanchez scored all 8 of his points in the opening quarter to help Mabton to the fast start. The Timberwolves never got within 15 points the rest of the game.

Zavala paced Mabton with 24 points, while teammate Alex Reyna hustled for six rebounds and four steals. Alex Espinoza added 7 points for the Vikes.

Mabton (2-5, 4-9) now stands two games out of the SCAC’s final playoff berth with seven contests to play.

“We can still get in, but we are going to have to continue to get better every day and get some W’s in the second half of the league season,” says Ledgerwood.

It won’t be easy, as next up for Mabton is second-place LaSalle visiting the Viking gym this coming Friday.

Saturday, the Vikes will play Granger at Toppenish Middle School at 12:30 p.m. as part of a six-game rivalry that starts with the Mabton/Granger girls game at 11 a.m.

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