Former Forest Grove assistant Marc Roche brings some new wrinkles to the boys basketball program at Gaston

After earning his chops as an assistant boys basketball coach at Forest Grove High, Marc Roche has taken over the Gaston boys basketball team.

Just a few weeks into practice, Roche is already excited by the level of talent and desire that he sees from the Greyhounds.

“We look really solid,” Roche says. “I’m a first-year coach, so after coming in and watching a couple weeks of practice, I’m really impressed with the work ethic and just the potential that the team has to have success this year.

“I’m putting in a lot of new offense and a lot of new stuff this year and we’re really fortunate to have a fast learning curve that lets us put it all together as we’re approaching the games. I’m really excited to see them in action when they play someone else. There’s a lot of potential with the group this year.”

Gaston played well last season, advancing to the Class 2A state playoffs for the second straight year after a three-decade postseason drought, but the team graduated several quality seniors. Roche is helping that the seniors on the 2012-13 team can pick up the vacant leadership roles.

“We have a couple of returning seniors who are going to play important roles,” Roche says.

Roche also is hoping that Gaston will be able to take the success they experienced last season and build off it, even though many of the key players from last year’s team are no longer on the squad.

“They had a pretty strong year, one of the better years that they’ve had in a while,” Roche says. “They got third in the league, but they graduated a couple of seniors who were big-time players for them. They graduated a lot of talent. But, from having success last year, it bodes well for them to build on that success.

“They understand what it takes to be successful and just build on the success they had last season. They got a lot of experience from that that will really carry over well this year.”

Roche says that his team has some players who can shoot and others who can be a presence inside. Defense will be the team’s calling card, though.

“Toughness, defense,” Roche says. “A lot of my guys are football guys and it really prepares them to be mentally tough and a good defensive team. Mixed in with that, we have some good offensive scorers, inside play and some good shooters. But, we’ll hang our hat on defense and toughness for the most part.”

Roche does not yet know the Northwest League well enough to venture a prediction for where the Hounds will finish this season. But, he says that he is more concerned with the process than the results.

“As far as placing, I don’t know exactly, because I’m just coming into this league and I don’t know a lot of the opponents,” Roach says. “But, (the goal) for this year is just maximizing potential with these guys and working with them. I have a couple of great assistant coaches who are really working hard on these guys to work on their individual game and play together as a team.

“I feel like we’ll have a really strong season. If we can take care of the things that we can control — working hard and playing our kind of basketball. I’m not concerned about the number of wins. It’s just that we play to our level every night and let the wins take care of themselves.”

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