The Greyhounds bounce-back from a close loss to Nestucca with a home win over the Lions

NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER OERTELL - Gaston's Riley Marshall goes up for a lay-in during the Greyhounds' Jan. 5 game at Gaston High School.After a tough road loss two nights prior at Nestucca, a game in which the home Bobcats defeated Gaston 59-55, the Greyhounds righted the ship with an impressive 80-51 win over City Christian Jan. 5 at Gaston High School.

"Friday was a great improvement for us," said Gaston head coach Jake McGraw. "We've been playing good basketball this year and have competed with some very good teams, but Wednesday night at Nestucca was a terrible night."

McGraw, while acknowledging the difficulty in playing on the road, expressed disappointment in his team's effort and questioned its leadership. He saw Friday's game with City Christian (3-8, 0-5) as an opportunity for his athletes to prove their worth, and to do so in front of their home crowd.

"Nestucca gave a great effort and Coach Jim Kiser always gets a lot out of his guys," said McGraw. "They wanted the game more than us and it clearly showed. I wanted to see that type of effort from our guys.

And they didn't disappoint.

NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER OERTELL - Gaston's Tristan Lund dribbles around a City Christian defender during their Jan. 5 game at Gaston High School.Gaston (6-5, 2-3) came out with energy from the opening tip and built a lead off it — coupled with a full-court press and an up-tempo style that gave the visiting Lions fits.

"I think the energy we played with was a great sign of things to come, and was also reassuring to the guys of staying committed," McGraw said.

The Greyhounds got 35 points from standout wing Riley Marshall, 16 points from point guard Tristan Lund and 10 from junior Matt Fox.

McGraw was particularly proud of his team's sustained effort throughout the game, as opposed to the runs and droughts that have plagued the squad during the early part of this season. In addition to the offensive contributions, McGraw spoke glowingly of the defensive effort, but also acknowledged his players can be better, specifically in regards to moving their feet and allowing fewer easy baskets.

And overall?

"It was a great team win and should be vital in getting us back on track for a potential playoff run," said McGraw. "But more importantly, it showed we have the ability to play with anyone on any given night."

Gaston was scheduled to host Life Christian Tuesday, Jan. 9, after the News-Times' press deadline, and will travel to Delphian Jan. 11 for a 7:30 p.m. tip-off.

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