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Greyhounds eyeing top-five finish in Northwest League

BASKETBALL: Gaston needs to make a surge in the second half of the league schedule

Gaston head coach Lono Waiwaiole wants to make a run at fourth place in the Northwest League, but in order to do so, the Greyhounds will have to take care of the teams in the bottom half of the standings.

Gaston took a step forward last Tuesday with a 73-64 win over Faith Bible, but the Hounds immediately took a step backward on Friday in a 65-56 loss to Corbett.

'Against Faith Bible, we had the kind of game we're supposed to have,' Waiwaiole said. 'The next one was not so good.'

Gaston (5-10, 2-4) now sits a game behind Portland Lutheran for fourth place. The Hounds and Blue Jays were set to do battle on Tuesday, but results were not available at press time.

With the second half of the league schedule looming on Friday, Waiwaiole knows his team will have to make a push to finish in the top half of the league.

'We're one game off where we want to be,' he said. 'We'd like to finish fourth or fifth. This was a step back, but we've got plenty of time to fix that.'

Last Tuesday's game against Faith Bible (0-13, 0-6) was not quite as close as the score indicated. Gaston led by 14 points at the start of the fourth quarter and held a double-digit advantage for much of the second half before the Falcons cut it to nine in the waning moments.

'It was a good game for us,' Waiwaiole said. 'We were pretty much in control the whole way.'

Four Gaston players scored in double figures, led by senior Parker Bolden's 23-point effort. Ryan Lewis added 14, while Sherfan Sher scored 11 and Josh Ochoa had 10.

Those same four players all scored in double figures again on Friday against Corbett, but there was a catch - they were the only four players to score for the Greyhounds.

Lewis led the way with 18, while Sher and Bolden scored 14 points apiece. Ochoa, playing in just his sixth game of the season, had 10 points and 17 rebounds.

'He is really coming along,' Waiwaiole said of Ochoa, who was among the league leaders in rebounding heading into last week's games.

Corbett (3-12, 2-4) led 24-19 at the end of the first quarter but stretched its lead to nine points at halftime. With Gaston struggling from the field, Corbett pulled away in the second half, leading by as many as 15 points in the third quarter.

'We made a little rally in the fourth quarter, but it was too short and too late,' Waiwaiole said. 'When we play them again we just need to play closer to our normal game.'

Gaston will travel to Portland Christian on Friday for a game that Waiwaiole hopes will serve as a measuring stick for how far the Hounds have come this season. Portland Christian posted a 90-40 victory in the teams' first meeting on Dec. 13.

'That game should give us an idea of where we are right now,' Waiwaiole said. 'The last time we were beat before we ever took the court. I don't ever want that to happen again.

'We're definitely in the hunt. I'd just like to be one game closer.'