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Hounds stay in title contention


Gaston rebounds from Riverdale loss with a big victory over rival Vernonia, sliding into second place in league

by: CHASE ALLGOOD - Gaston senior Sam Wismer slices through the Riverdale defense for a layup during a Northwest League boys basketball game last Tuesday.Last Tuesday, the Gaston boys basketball team narrowly missed a shot at taking control of the Northwest League when the Greyhounds lost to Riverdale.

But, Gaston was able to dust itself off and pull out a win on Friday against Vernonia that moved the Hounds into second place in the conference.

“We played really well in both games,” Gaston head coach Marc Roche said.

It just was not meant to be for the Hounds in a 60-58 loss against Riverdale, though.

“They have the best record in our league,” Roche said. “It was a great game and we played really well. Down the stretch the shooting just didn’t go our way and they hit some shots.”

After such a close loss, Roche was extremely impressed by the way the Hounds were able to put the Riverdale game behind them and focus on the Friday game against rival Vernonia.

“It was certainly a challenge,” Roche said of moving on after the Riverdale game. “It was a tough one to handle. But, in Wednesday and Thursday’s practice we tried to get the guys to refocus and look at the task at hand. We knew that we couldn’t do anything about Tuesday’s game at that point. They fought really hard, but it was over. The guys really had a good Wednesday and Thursday practice and really tried to prepare.

“It helped that we had our rival in Vernonia on Friday. They were ready to get those guys. Instead of feeling bad for ourselves, we really came out ready to go and get better in practice.”

The task of moving past a close loss was even more difficult because the game was being played on Vernonia’s home court.

“We knew that it was going to be tough at their place,” Roche said. “They’ve got a brand new gym and a new facility. It was a really good environment and they were really ready to go.”

The result of the Hounds’ mental fortitude was a gritty 43-34 win.

“We probably played one of our better games this season defensively,” Roche said.

The win moved the Greyhounds’ record to 10-6 on the season and 7-3 in league play, one game behind Riverdale.

This week, Gaston has home games against Neah-Kah-Nie on Tuesday (results were not available at press time) and Portland Christian on Friday.

“They’re pretty competitive,” Roche said of Neah-Kah-Nie. “They play a 2-3 zone. They don’t have a lot of league wins, but our league is a place where you have to show up and play every single night.

“Friday will be a really good test against Portland Christian. They’ve beaten some really good teams in the league. We beat them at their place early in the year, but that’s a game that we really have to gear up and get ready for.”

As Gaston looks to try to finish out the season strong and challenge for a league championship, Roche is grateful that five of the Hounds’ remaining six games will be played at home.

“We’ve had a really good following of fans on the road, but it really helps when we play at home,” he said. “Hopefully we can string some wins together and really fight for that (No. 1) spot again.”