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Goldendale boys drop season opener by one in Mabton


Jaryd Cline

Goldendale senior Edgar Vega looks for an open man while Mabton's Diego Garza defends on Dec. 3 in Mabton.

Goldendale boys' basketball head coach Ted Wilkins said the thing he likes most about this year's edition of the Timberwolves is how aggressive they are offensively.

During their opening game on the road against the Mabton Vikings on Saturday, the Timberwolves repeatedly got to the basket for easy looks. However, the Wolves also missed many of those looks from underneath the basket during their 50-49 loss to the Vikings.

Missed opportunities and foul trouble came back to haunt the Timberwolves in the one-point loss. They knocked down just 47 percent (18-38) of their looks inside the key, many of the misses coming from point-blank range.

If it wasn't the missed lay-ins that hurt the Wolves the most, it was the tough night from the free-throw line that doomed the veteran team comprised of seven seniors and three juniors and a freshman. Goldendale converted just four of 17 attempts from the charity stripe whereas the Vikings were able to capitalize on their 21 attempts from the line, hitting 14.

After all those offensive struggles, the Wolves were very much in the game thanks to the team's 21 offensive rebounds, which resulted in many second chance points, and persistent defensive pressure, which forced countless Mabton turnovers.

The Timberwolves also played unselfishly on offense, more often than not making the extra pass that usually resulted in a good shot close to the basket. Eight of the nine Wolves that played recorded at least one assist while senior Edgar Vega led Goldendale with three.

Junior Alex Mains scored the first points of the season for the Wolves on a jumper from the elbow, but picked up two quick fouls shortly after and was forced to the bench. Christian Nadler, a 6-foot-3 senior also found himself in foul trouble in the first quarter. He picked up three fouls in the opening period and also was sent to the bench to avoid fouling further.

Despite the early foul trouble, the Wolves jumped out to a 15-11 lead thanks to six points from freshman Corbin Bland and five from senior Jess Beierle in the opening frame. However, that lead was short lived.

The Vikings took advantage of 14 free throw attempts in the second quarter, hitting nine and outscoring the Wolves 19-9 to take a 30 to 24 lead into halftime.

A Beierle layin narrowed Goldendale's deficit to 27-24 seconds before the end of the half, but Mabton junior Diego Garza beat the buzzer with a deep 3-pointer from the right wing that gave the Vikings the largest lead of the first half.

Beierle came out of the break strong scoring seven points, including converting a three-point play midway through the quarter but Garza, who hit another 3-pointer in the third, kept Goldendale at bay and led 39-35 to start the fourth.

Goldendale also did a good job keeping the Vikings off the charity stripe. After shooting 14 in the second quarter, Mabton didn't get to the line once in the third.

After the Vikings went up 42-35 with a triple right off the bat to start the fourth quarter, lay-ins from Jacob Bischoff and Beierle brought the Wolves within three at 42-39.

The teams traded baskets for a few minutes until Beierle scored off a putback and brought Goldendale within two at 48-46 with 51 seconds left in regulation.

After a Vikings travel with 22 seconds, Wilkins called time after Goldendale crossed half court and set up a play in the huddle.

Vega inbounded to Nadler who turned and fired from the right elbow but his shot missed and bounced off a Goldendale player and out of bounds with 13 seconds to play.

Jaryd Cline

Goldendale senior Edgar Vega takes a contested shot near the basket during the team's season opening loss on the road to the Mabton Vikings on Dec. 3.

The Timberwolves fouled Garza, who finished with a team-best 19 points, and he sank a pair at the line to put Mabton up four (50-46).

With time running low, Vega canned a contested 3-pointer from the right side but the clock ran out before the Vikings inbounded to halt Goldendale's comeback bid.

Vega finished with a team-high 11 rebounds and three assists and added two steals as well. Beierle led all scorers with 23 points on a 10-19 shooting effort and also added eight boards, two assists and two steals.

The Wolves matched up with Stevensen Tuesday night in their home opener, but results were unavailable at press time.


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