YAKIMA – When only three players can get the ball to drop through the hoop, and collectively a team makes just 16 percent of its shots from the field, a win is hard to come by. Especially so, if that team is playing at the WIAA Class 1A State Girls Basketball Tournament.
Such was the case for the Mabton Lady Vikings yesterday. Facing the state’s ninth-ranked Blaine Borderites, Mabton was unable to overcome a frigid shooting performance. The Lady Vikes fell, 43-27.
“Sometimes the ball goes in and sometimes it doesn’t…sometimes we just don’t shoot well,” said Mabton Coach Chris McCallum.
Thursday’s loss for Mabton, which last competed at State back in 1986, came in the opening quarter-final round at the Yakima Valley SunDome.
The Lady Vikings (19-6) were scheduled to retake the SunDome court today (Friday) at 2 p.m. against Okanogan, which fell to King’s by a 38-32 margin in another of the quarter-final games yesterday. The winner of today’s Mabton-Okanogan match-up will advance to play for the fourth and sixth-place State trophies Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m. The loser of today’s consolation round game will call it a season.
As poorly as Mabton shot the ball yesterday, going just 9-for-54 from the field, the Vikes were still within striking distance of Blaine when the second half started. Down by 14 points at intermission, Mabton got as close as nine points in the third quarter by opening the second half with a 7-2 run.
Sophomore Desanay Guerrero, who led all scorers in the game with 15 points, started Mabton’s comeback bid with a three-point play. Taking a feed from Soila Zaragoza, one of three assists she had in the game, Guerrero hit a driving lay-up and was fouled. The ensuing free throw cut Blaine’s lead to 26-15.
Three possessions later, Zaragoza was fouled. Making one of the two shots, Blaine’s lead was down to just 10.
Olivia Olason, who finished with 9 points for the eventual winners, answered for the Borderites with a lay-up, pushing Blaine’s lead back out to 28-16. But on the very next trip back down the floor Zaragoza stopped and popped from beyond the 3-point arc, pulling Mabton to within single digits, at 28-19.
That would be as close as the Lady Vikes would get, however. Blaine finished off the third stanza with a 9-4 scoring spurt.
“We won our 3-point shots, we had good shots, but we missed a lot in the lanes,” said McCallum.
Neither club could find the bottom of the net with any regularity in the final period, combining for just 10 points total. Mabton went 1-for-16 from the field in the fourth quarter, while the Borderites were only slightly better with 2-of-12 field goal numbers.
Besides the game-high 15 points that Guerrero collected, Mabton received a 7-point performance from Zaragoza. Irene Pineda, like Guerrero and Zaragoza just a sophomore, chipped in 5 points in the losing cause.
The three sophs were the only Mabton players who scored yesterday. The rest of the team combined for a 0-for-24 performance in field goal attempts.
When asked about Alyssa Nash, who has been a team leader all season, McCallum said, “When Alyssa doesn’t score, it can hurt, but no one was scoring (well) tonight.”
He noted that the Lady Vikings did well, putting forth a great effort in the second half. They pressed the Borderites.
“We wanted to press more,” said McCallum.
The second half effort fell short of a win, however.
Blaine was led in the scoring column by 5’8” junior Mandy Hayes. She popped in a team-high 11 points, hitting one trey in the process and making 4-of-5 free throws.
Defensively for Mabton on Thursday, the Vikes forced Blaine into committing 17 turnovers while only coughing up the ball 14 times, themselves. Guerrero and junior Cassidy McCallum had two steals apiece for Mabton.
On the boards, Mabton got a big-time performance from the 5’7” junior Nash. She scraped a team-high 10 rebounds off the glass. Guerrero also came through with eight boards.
“We lost on rebounding...they outrebounded us 20-8 in the first half,” McCallum said. “But we are better than that…they just did a good job boxing us out.”
He said Blaine deserves to be credited for playing well and taking transitions away from the Lady Vikings.
“They (the Borderites) are a very good team…we’ll get back after it,” said McCallum.
Blaine advances to today’s semi-final round with a 9 p.m. match-up against King’s. The winner of that contest will play in Saturday’s 9 p.m. title tilt against either Cashmere - 59-23 winners over Kalama yesterday – or Lynden Christian, which defeated Granger by a 63-40 score in Thursday’s quarter-final round.
Mabton’s goal against Okanogan, said McCallum, is to win so the Lady Vikings can return home with a trophy.
Mabton 4 8 11 4 -27
Blaine 10 6 11 6 -43
2-PT FG – Mabton 6/32 (Desanay Guerrero 5/11, Irene Pineda 1/3), Blaine 15/40 (Taylor V’Dovec 4/12, Alexis McElwain 3/7, Breanna Chau 2/3). 3-PT FG – Mabton 3/22 (Soila Zaragoza 2/4, Irene Pineda 1/7), Blain 2/7 (Olivia Olason ½, Mandy Hayes 1/3). FT – Mabton 6/7 (Desanay Guerrero 5/5), Blaine 7/12 (Mandy Hayes 4/5, Alexis McElwain 3/4). RBD – Mabton 35 (Alyssa Nash 10, Desanay Guerrero 8, Cassidy McCallum 4, Soila Zaragoza 4), Blaine 44 (Alexis McElwain 12, Taylor V’Dovec 9, Mandy Hayes 8). TO – Mabton 14, Blaine 17.
Mabton – Irene Pineda 5, Rieley McCallum 0, Cassidy McCallum 0, Liz Martinez 0, Alyssa Nash 0, Abby Villalobos 0, Adriana Zaragoza 0, Cristina Espinoza 0, Caitlin Escoto-Rojas 0, Soila Zaragoza 7, Desanay Guerrero 15
Blaine – Gretchen Kordas 0, Breanna Chau 4, Olivia Olason 9, Alexis McElwain 9, Emily Roe 0, Mikayla Deming 2, Kjistin Larson 0, Mandy Hayes 11, Rhiana Breedlove 0, Taylor V’Dovec 8