Eagles grind past Gaston

  Hokes Bluff junior center Isaac Haas defends during the Eagles’ 37-18 win over Gaston on Tuesday (Nov. 4).   Hokes Bluff junior center Isaac Haas defends during the Eagles’ 37-18 win over Gaston on Tuesday (Nov. 4).

By Mike Goodson/Sports Correspondent

Gaston High boys basketball head coach David Wright had a “giant” task last Tuesday (Dec. 4) in going up against Hokes Bluff and it’s the 7’2’’ center Isaac Haas.  

The Bulldogs (0-6) met the challenge in holding Haas to eight points, but the visiting Eagles ended up posting a 37-18 victory.

Hokes Bluff head Greg Watkins figured that Gaston would pay special attention to Haas. 

“Gaston used a 3-2 zone on [Haas] and used their post guys in front and behind him. It was one of those game’s where [Haas] didn’t get a lot of touches in the halfcourt; he got [his points] mainly in transition because they were pulling the ball out and slowing things down, which we’ll see a lot of this year. That was the first time this year that we saw mostly zone [defense], and [Gaston head coach] Buddy [Wright] has his guys playing zone pretty good.” 

The first quarter was a defensive struggle, with Gaston taking a 5-4 lead after eight minutes. 

Matthew Watkins hit two free throws to open the second quarter and give Hokes Bluff the Eagles never relinquished. 

Hokes Bluff seemed to solve the Gaston defense in the second period to increase the lead to 18-8 at halftime.

The Eagles (6-0) used their balanced scoring to lead 26-15 going into the final frame. Hokes Bluff closed out the game with an 11-3 run. 

Tanner Shields scored seven points for the Eagles, followed by Brad Robertson and Matthew Watkins with 6 points each. 

Albert Douglas paced Gaston with five points. 

“We held their big man to only eight points, so this should give you a chance to win,” said Wright. “Our defense is sound, but we need to turn the corner offensively.” 

Hokes Bluff hosts Westbrook on Friday, while Gaston visits Sand Rock. 

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