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Lady Hounds holding steady

Gaston girls set their sights on a state playoff berth this year by winning three of their first four games in Northwest League play
by: Chase Allgood Gaston junior Cassie Van Dyke gets fouled by a Portland Christian defender during last Friday’s 41-30 loss to the Royals in Northwest League play. Van Dyke led the Lady Greyhounds with eight point and 12 rebounds.

Two weeks into the Northwest League girls basketball season, Gaston already finds itself in prime playoff position.

With three wins in their first four games - and their only loss coming against perennial league power Portland Christian - the Lady Greyhounds currently sit in second place, and their next three league opponents have just six wins between them this season.

All that is certainly cause for optimism in Gaston, especially for second-year head coach Erik Lentz, who has high hopes for this year's team after leading the Lady Hounds to the cusp of the league playoffs last season.

Gaston (6-3, 3-1) dropped its first Northwest League game last Friday in a 41-30 decision against Portland Christian, but the Lady Hounds preceded it with a convincing 35-19 victory over Neah-Kah-Nie on Tuesday, plus a strong showing at the Gervais Cougar Classic during winter break.

At the Gervais tournament, Gaston suffered a tough 28-27 loss to Clatskanie in the first round before hammering Nestucca 65-34 in the third-place game.

Against Nestucca, junior Carlie Gilbertson exploded for 25 points on 8-of-13 shooting, including a career-high seven three-pointers. Fellow junior Cassie Van Dyke finished with 11 points, 12 rebounds and six assists, and freshman Haylie Davis had 11 points on 3-for-5 shooting from downtown.

Against Clatskanie the night before, Van Dyke had a fabulous all-around game with eight points, seven rebounds, seven steals and five assists. Maricruz Gomez added four points and 11 rebounds.

Last Tuesday against Neah-Kah-Nie, Gaston's defense was so dominant that the Lady Greyhounds cruised to a 16-point win despite not scoring in the fourth quarter.

Neah-Kah-Nie (3-7, 1-2) went on an 8-0 run in the final stanza, but it was not nearly enough to overcome a Gaston lead that had ballooned to 35-11 by the end of the third quarter. In that game, junior Lyndsey Lumley led the Gaston offense with 13 points, while Van Dyke added 12 points and six assists.

The Lady Greyhounds fell to Portland Christian last Friday, and they traveled to face second-place Riverdale on Tuesday, but results for that game were not available at press time.

After back-to-back tough matchups, however, Gaston's next three league opponents are Delphian, Nestucca and Knappa, teams that have combined for just six wins this year. Gaston hosts Delphian at 6 p.m. on Thursday.