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Losing streak stretches to seven games for Hounds

Gaston girls stumble in a nonleague loss against Warrenton

It’s been a tough stretch of late for the Gaston girls basketball team, but the Greyhounds still have the chance to turn this ship around.

The Hounds dropped a 49-40 decision to Warrenton at home on Saturday afternoon for their seventh consecutive loss, but if they can tweak a few aspects of their game, some wins might be coming soon.NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: CHASE ALLGOOD
 - Gaston sophomore Charity Hall drives past Warrenton's Katelynn Blodgett during last Saturday's nonleague girls basketball game.

“I don’t know if it’s nerves still,” head coach Travis Martin said. “We’re just trying to come together. It’s almost like we’re too unselfish.”

This year’s team is athletic, Martin noted, but it has the tendency to make an extra pass when it doesn’t need to, so the offense has not really clicked yet. That has resulted in the team frequently being forced to play from behind.

“I know they know it,” Martin said. “They know what they’re capable of, because they do it in practice every single day.”

Even with the games not going its way, Gaston (2-9, 0-3 Northwest League) has kept most games close. During the streak, four of the team’s seven losses were by nine points or fewer, and another was by 11 points. And several of these games were against opponents in larger classifications, including Saturday’s against the Class 3A Warriors.

The Greyhounds once again fell behind against Warrenton (5-5) in the first quarter and eventually trailed by a dozen points. Gaston rallied to within about five points but could get no closer as the Warriors shot 31 free throw attempts during the contest, many while the Hounds were fouling to stop the clock late while trying to catch up.

“The message going into the locker room at the end of these games is we’re just running out of time,” Martin said. “We’re not getting blown out by 30 or anything like that. We just need those few extra buckets and value every possession.”

Charity Hall paced Gaston with an outstanding effort of 18 points and 12 rebounds against Warrenton.

The sophomore Hall is one of the team’s biggest threats, but Martin also complimented the play of junior wing Amber Becker, who has recently been developing into more of a reliable scoring threat. She scored 10 points in Gaston’s 35-29 loss to Perrydale on Dec. 29.

“She’s taking it upon herself. She’s putting the team on her back and making something happen. She’s getting to the rim, working on her fundamentals,” Martin said. “I know I can trust her every minute of the game.”

Gaston’s only contest this week was scheduled for Tuesday at Nestucca (2-7, 0-2). Next week, the Hounds continue Northwest League play in earnest by hosting Life Christian on Tuesday, traveling to City Christian on Thursday and entertaining Vernonia on Saturday.

With the conference being a bit down this year, Martin still entertains the possibility of a top-three finish, but he knows “at this point we can’t sleep on anybody and just assume it’s an automatic win.”

“I believe it will work itself out,” he said. “We can only control what we can control, and that’s us and how we play.”