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Waiwaiole returns with Gaston girls


Lono Waiwaiole is back in Gaston after two years at Aloha

Two years ago, Lono Waiwaiole was very happy as the head boys basketball coach at Gaston. He thought he had a very good team coming back for the following season and was excited about the prospect of leading the Greyhounds for a fifth year.

Then, family obligations forced Waiwaiole to give up the helm of the boys team.

Waiwaiole’s son, Poeko Waiwaiole, was the head girls basketball coach at Aloha, and he asked his father to help him get the program off the ground.

Though he wanted to stay at Gaston, Lono Waiwaiole decided that he needed to help his son.

“I never really wanted to leave in the first place,” Lono Waiwaiole says. “But, my son was the head girls coach at Aloha and I signed on to help him get that program started. It was a good thing for my family. That’s why I left.”

After two years, Waiwaiole felt that he had helped get the Aloha program up and running, and when former Gaston girls coach and athletic director Erik Lentz decided to step down from the program, he asked Waiwaiole to come back to Gaston.

Waiwaiole could not have been more excited for the opportunity.

“By that time my son and I decided that we had the foundation already laid (at Aloha),” Waiwaiole says. “It was a chance to come back and I just jumped all over it because I never really wanted to leave Gaston in the first place. I’m really lucky and I’m super excited.”

In his first year as the Hounds’ coach, Waiwaiole is not happy with the numbers of girls out for basketball at Gaston.

“Our numbers are low,” he says. “So program wise, we’re off to a really bad start.”

However, Waiwaiole is encouraged by the talent on the varsity team.

Waiwaiole says that the team will be led by seniors Carly Gilbertson and Cassidy Van Dyke and junior Tina Turner.

Gilbertson is “one of the best shooters in Oregon at any level,” Waiwaiole says. “She’s a senior and has a lot of experience and is a tremendous weapon.”

Van Dyke “is one of the best all-around players in our league,” Waiwaiole says, and Turner “is one of the best defenders in our league.”

The Lady Hounds should also have a solid group of sophomores to help Gilbertson, Van Dyke and Turner pick up the slack.

“We have some young sophomores who are going to be very good this year,” Waiwaiole says. “We have a strong core and good auxiliary players.”

When he took over the Greyhounds, Waiwaiole asked the girls what their goal was. When they told him that it was to make the state playoffs this season, he not only thought it was a good goal, he thought it was attainable.

“This team made it to the league playoffs last year,” Waiwaiole says. “Their goal is to come out of the league playoffs and make the state playoffs. That’s a very worthwhile goal.

“We’d like to be in the league playoffs, finish in the top three or four, make it through that and go on to the first round of the state playoffs. It’s doable.”