Lady Hounds struggling to overcome offensive woes

BASKETBALL: Gaston girls are averaging under 30 points a game in four straight league losses
by: Chase Allgood, Gaston junior K’rene Delplanche battles for control of a loose ball during last weekend’s Gaston Holiday Tournament.

Gaston girls basketball coach Derek Anderson isn't quite ready to call Friday's pending Northwest League game against Corbett a 'must win,' but he understands that time is running out for his team to make a playoff push.

With the second half of the league schedule looming, Gaston (5-8, 0-4) remains winless in Northwest League play after dropping decisions to De La Salle and Knappa last week.

The Lady Greyhounds played last-place Faith Bible (0-9, 0-4) on Tuesday, but results were not available at press time. A win in that game coupled with a win against Corbett (3-12, 2-2) on Friday could give Gaston the spark it needs to make a charge at a league playoff berth.

'It's not a must-win game, but it's getting close,' Anderson said of the upcoming clash with Corbett. 'With two wins this week we could be right where we wanted to be going into the second half of the league schedule.'

The biggest hang-up at the moment is an anemic offense that scored just 13 points in a non-league loss to Perrydale on Dec. 29 and 18 points in a league setback against De La Salle last Thursday. Through four league games, Gaston is averaging 26.7 points per contest.

'I have no problem with our defense. Our offense is just struggling big time,' Anderson said.

The Lady Hounds' offensive woes can be traced to two main problems. First, the team has been without leading scorer and rebounder Marissa Hedin since before Christmas break. Hedin, who was averaging close to 13 points and 10 rebounds a game, is academically ineligible. Anderson hopes to have her back on the court for Friday's showdown with Corbett.

The other problem is pitiful free-throw shooting. Gaston is shooting 44 percent from the charity stripe this season.

'That's the difference between being 5-8 and being 7-6,' Anderson said. 'You've got to make your free throws.'

Never was that more evident than last Saturday night when Gaston rallied from a 15-point, fourth-quarter deficit against Knappa.

The Lady Hounds trimmed the margin to 49-45 with 1:45 to play but missed four straight free throws and ultimately went 1-for-5 from the line in the closing minutes. Knappa (3-8, 2-1) slammed the door with an 8-1 run, going on to win the game 57-46.

Despite the loss, Anderson was pleased with his team's performance, especially the fourth-quarter comeback.

'That scenario last year we would have thrown in the towel, but we didn't. The girls kept fighting. I was really proud of them,' he said. 'Going up to Knappa is tough enough. Getting out of there with a win would have just been a bonus.'

Friday's game against Corbett will tip off at 6 p.m. at Gaston High School. The second half of the league schedule begins next Friday, Jan. 18, on the road against Portland Christian.