Lady Greyhounds split two league games despite losing their leading scorer to injury

by: CHASE ALLGOOD - Gaston senior Carlie Gilbertson goes up for a shot during last Tuesday's Northwest League girls basketball game against Riverdale.The Gaston girls basketball team went through last week without senior Cassie Van Dyke, the team’s leading scorer and rebounder, who is out with a hyper-extended knee.

The Lady Greyhounds were able to overcome the loss of their senior leader in Tuesday’s game against Riverdale, but on Friday Gaston fell to Vernonia, a team that the Hounds would have had their hands full against even if they were at full strength.

“She’s our leading scorer and our leading rebounder, so it’s a big hit when she isn’t out there,” Gaston head coach Lono Waiwaiole said of Van Dyke.

The Hounds’ 53-43 win against Riverdale was hard fought all the way through.

“We were playing without our best player, but we adjusted,” Waiwaiole said. “It was a fairly even game. We just wound up being a little ahead at the end.”

Gaston got a very good performance from senior Carlie Gilbertson, a 5-foot-7 wing who helped pick up the slack in Van Dyke’s absence.

“We got away without missing her too much against Riverdale because Carlie Gilbertson had a really big game offensively and helped make up for it,” Waiwaiole said.

When Gaston faced Vernonia on Friday, the Hounds knew they were in for a very tough game. The last time the two sides met, on Dec. 11, Vernonia ran away with a 65-45 win. From the opening whistle on Friday, it was clear that Gaston was going to miss Van Dyke.

“Against Vernonia, we were really hurting without her,” Waiwaiole said.

But, even with Van Dyke in the lineup, Waiwaiole said that Gaston is just not capable of matching up with Vernonia, which eventually turned the game into a 70-35 blowout.

“They’re better than us,” Waiwaiole said. “When we had Cassie they beat us in a very similar way. They’re way better than us all the way across the board.”

The loss moved Gaston’s record to 6-10 on the season and 5-5 in Northwest League play. The Lady Hounds are currently sitting in fifth place in the league standings.

Taking fifth place would mean that Gaston would be shut out of the playoffs. But, the Hounds are just one game behind Knappa, Faith Bible and Portland Christian.

“This is about where we were hoping we would be,” Waiwaiole said. “We’re right within range of where we want to be in the end. We’re only one game out of the playoffs, so we have a good opportunity to get there.”

This week, Gaston will have an opportunity to leapfrog Portland Christian when the Hounds take them on at home on Friday. Gaston also played Neah-Kah-Nie at home on Tuesday, but results were not available at press time.

Waiwaiole said that Van Dyke could return within the next week or two, which is good news for the Hounds because with the playoffs a very real possibility. Waiwaiole said that the health of his team will be imperative moving forward.

“We have a lot of girls out sick right now and we have some injuries,” he said. “A lot of how we play depends on those factors. Right now we have six or seven players healthy. Our health is going to be the key. Last time we played Neah-Kah-Nie we only had five players and we were able to win. I don’t know how many times we can do that.

“Portland Christian is one of the teams ahead of us. We beat them last time, but it was the first time we had ever beaten them since anyone can remember. To do that again without being at full strength isn’t likely. Being at full strength is a big deal.”

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