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Greyhounds focus on one opponent at a time

Gaston gears up for the final four games of the season with a league title in sight


When the Gaston boys basketball team lost 60-58 to Riverdale on Jan. 15, the Greyhounds forfeited control of their own destiny.

Heading into another week of hoops action, Riverdale (10-2) sits at the top of the Northwest League standings. The Hounds (12-6 overall, 9-3 in conference) are in second place.

Without another game against Riverdale, Gaston’s only hope at a conference championship is to win one more game than the Mavericks over the last four games of the regular season.

“The league championship is really in their court,” Gaston head coach Marc Roche said. “They’re going to have to lose for us to get a shot at the top spot. Things are out of our hands. We do need Riverdale to lose, but our big focus — regardless of who we’re playing — is to take them one game at a time.”

The Hounds have indeed been taking care of things on their end, mounting a three-game winning streak with victories over Vernonia (43-34) on Jan. 18, Neah-Kah-Nie (60-20) last Tuesday and Portland Christian (59-47) last Friday.

“Our guys are getting to a point where they’re learning to play well together,” Roche said. “They’ve learned that if someone is hot we need to go to him. In the last week or so we’ve gotten to the point where we’re playing really good team basketball. We’re unselfish. We find the best shot every possession.

“I don’t think it’s anything huge. They’ve always had this potential, but we’re getting better at maximizing every single play on offense and defense.”

Against Neah-Kah-Nie, the Hounds showcased a balanced effort. Sam Wismer and Austin Waibel led Gaston with 13 points each, but they were the only players who scored in double figures in a game which saw them run up 60 points.

“It was a total team effort,” Roche said. “Every single player, whether they were a starter or a bench player coming on, just played at a really high level and played solid defense. They got the best shot no matter who shot it every single possession.”

Against Portland Christian, Roche matched up Austin Morey on the Royals’ star guard Parker Ickert. Morey was glued to Ickert all night, holding him to just four points.

“They had a player in particular who we really focused on and we really took him out of his game,” Roche said. “He didn’t get a lot of opportunities to shoot. Austin Morey just did an outstanding job of shadowing him all night. That was a huge part of it.”

On offense, the Hounds were able to identify a size mismatch in the post. Wismer finished the night with 20 points and 12 rebounds, and Waibel led the Hounds with 23 points and eight rebounds.

“We just really dominated inside that game,” Roche said. “That was kind of a sign of our guys really finding that that was our strength in that game. We have guards who can score the ball but they were just being really unselfish and seeing the opportunities inside and really taking advantage of the mismatches inside.”

Even if Gaston does everything in its power and wins its last four games, Riverdale could still walk away with the league championship. While the Hounds have not given up their dream of winning a conference title, their biggest priority now is controlling what they are able to control.

“We have goals and we have things that we’re trying to accomplish,” Roche says. “But right now it’s all about Faith Bible on Tuesday and then we’ve got three more after that. It’s just one game at a time.

“We want to really focus on one team at a time and getting better in every practice and in every game.”



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