Sports

Rangers run past Grays Harbor

It’s not exactly a touch it/shoot it approach, but if a young man’s got the confidence to shoot the rock, then Olympic College is the place to be.

“It’s nice to have a coach get mad at you if you don’t shoot it,” Greg Caldwell said after the Rangers breezed to a season-opening 92-64 victory over Grays Harbor at Bremer Center Gym on Saturday, Nov. 17.

Caldwell hoisted 15 threes, making just four.

“I missed a couple early and I think I let that get to me,” he said.

It didn’t bother Reece Gliko, the first-year coach of the Rangers.

“Everyone’s got the green light,” he said. “I’m not going to tell anybody not to shoot.”

Gliko’s more concerned about getting 40 minutes of flat-out hustle and concentration out of his team.

Even though the outcome had been decided early, Gliko’s regulars were still on the floor with 20 seconds left and the intense 27-year-old coach, was on his feet, yelling at his team: “Attack White!”

Later, Gliko explained his philosophy.

“I want them to get in an attack mentality and not play the scoreboard. I felt that we played the scoreboard in parts of the second half,” he said.

“That’s not our team. I want our guys to understand to not play thescoreboard. Act the whole game like it’s 0-0.”

To take some time off the clock, even with a safe lead, isn’t part of the plan.

“That’s not our style and our system,” he said. “We’ve developed habits over the last couple of months, and for us to set up in a halfcourt offense at that time ... it would be like a fish out of water. I can’t ask them to do that.”

Olympic needed more than four minutes to score, finally breaking the ice on Drew Stenesen’s 3-pointer at the 15:42 mark. At that point, Gliko pulledfour of his five starters for a quick courtside chat.

The subject? Once again, it was about attacking with the basketball.

“Maybe it was the anxiety or excitement, but sometimes against their press, we’d get the ball in and wait to see what they would do,” Gliko said. “I wanted them to attack and play our system. I just felt it was a good time to take them out, get their focus back, get their concentration.”

It didn’t take long for the Rangers to put together a 14-0 run that buried the visitors from Aberdeen in a 26-10 hole. Grays Harbor hit a couple of late threes to pull within 40-27 at the half, but the Rangers scored the first nine points of the second half and the rout was on.

First impressions were favorable, although Grays Harbor was one of the weaker NWAACC teams to visit Bremer Center in recent years.

Gliko went with basically a six-man rotation. Sophomore transfers Robbie Bybee from Idaho and Maurice Hines from Seattle, both guards, are ineligible for the Rangers’ first five games.

That left freshman Casey Manchester from Olympic High, who joined the team just three weeks ago, as OC’s only true point guard.

Manchester played 36 minutes of fast-paced basketball. He scored 18 points, but had seven of the Rangers’ 25 turnovers.

Fred Grupe, a 6-5 freshman from Rockport, Ill., whose wife is stationed here with the Navy, led the Rangers with 20 points and 14 rebounds, eight of them offensive boards.

“Fred’s got the ability to play above the rim,” Gliko said. “I thought it was a good first game for him.”

The Rangers also got major contributions from their three returning sophomores — Caldwell, Stenesen and Ken Waldo.

Caldwell, despite an off-shooting night, scored 20 points and had eight rebounds.

Bainbridge’s Stenesen scored a career-high 19 points on 6 of 8 shooting, including 2 of 3 threes. Stenesen had five rebounds in a solid, all-around performance.

“I just tried to stay within the offense,” Stenesen said. “We’ve all got the green light, and I think that’s given everybody on our team confidence when we shoot it.”

The hard-working Waldo, from Olympic, had seven points, seven rebounds and a team-high five assists.

Sixth-man Kevin Hudson, active around the basket, had six points and six rebounds.

“There were a lot of positives, but I think we’ve got a long ways to go,” said Gliko. “I thought we played hard in spurts, but we need to play hard for 40 minutes.”

The players echoed the coaches’ comments.

“We did some good things, but we’ve got a long way to go,” Stenesen said. “I think there’s hope.”

Caldwell said, “We got a win, but we need to be better. We played hard, but we didn’t play nearly as hard as we do in practice.”

Gliko, the Montana native who continues to push the Rangers through two practices a day, said, “The most important thing that happened tonight is that we stayed together. I think the guys understand there were ups and downs during the game, but we didn’t get negative. We stayed together and that’s what I’m most happy about.”

Olympic travels to Aberdeen to play in the Cold Turkey Tournament on Friday and Saturday. The Rangers face South Puget Sound, while host Grays Harbor takes on Blue Mountain in Friday’s openers.

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