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Gaston boys get two wins in Northwest League play

Hounds overcome slow start under first-year coach


Gaston boys basketball coach Marc Roche knew that taking over a program would mean going through rough spots. After watching the Hounds begin the season 1-4, Roche is hoping those rough patches are in the team’s past after two straight wins.

“We kind of had a rough start,” Roche said. “That was partly due to having a new coach with new expectations. Part of it is just a whole new system. A whole new offense and different expectations after they had a good team last year.”

Roche was extraordinarily pleased with Gaston’s 50-41 comeback win against Vernonia and the Hounds’ 41-37 road win over Portland Christian.

“I’m really pleased with the last week and a half,” Roche said. “There’s been a lot of improvement. Last week we had a couple of really big wins — a comeback win against Vernonia and a big road win against Portland Christian. I’m really pleased with the strides we’ve been making right now. I feel like if we keep working on it we’ll keep getting better.”

Part of Roche’s confidence stems from the way the team is coming together for a collective goal.

“Now these guys are really starting to grasp how to play well together,” Roche said. “We have guys who just play really good roles and really step up. Whether it’s knocking down shots or playing tough defense, they’re all buying into their role in the team.”

Roche has been pleased with three players in particular:

“Sam Wismer has really played the best so far, as far as being solid,” Roche said. “He’s scoring double figures in most games and just rebounding really well and playing really tough. He’s been a great surprise.

“Austin Waibel at post, he’s a great rebounder and really strong and tough inside.

“Against Portland Christian, Levi Watkins really had a good game. He shot the ball well and really sparked us on offense. It’s what we need, because offense has been coming along a little bit slower than I was hoping. But, (Watkins) kind of got it kick-started ... against Portland Christian.”

With Wismer, Waibel and Watkins starting to come into their own and the rest of the team learning how to play together, Roche is confident that the Hounds can produce moving forward.

“As long as we come to play every night and we play like we’re capable of, we can have a lot of success in the league,” Roche said. “We’ve only seen a third of the teams in the league, but I think we would stack up pretty well with the rest of the league as long as we ... continue to play at a high level.”



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