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Ranger men face must-win games
Olympic College coach Reece Gliko only cares about one thing heading into the Rangers final two regular-season games tonight at home against Everett and Saturday, March 2 at Edmonds.
I want to be able to say we gave it our best effort, Gliko said. If we do that and dont make the tournament, thats fine. Id rather make our best effort and not get in than play tentatively, squeak by and get in.
The Rangers have been tentative, especially at the beginning of games during a four-game losing streak thats dropped Olympic from first to fifth in the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges Northern Division. OC (7-7 NWAACC, 13-13 overall) is tied with Whatcom, which beat the Rangers 98-85 on Saturday, Feb. 23, and a game back of fourth-place Skagit Valley (8-6) going into the final week of the regular season.
Skagit closes against Edmonds (today) and Whatcom (Saturday, Feb. 23). Whatcom plays at Seattle tonight. OC must beat Everett to stay in contention for the fourth and final spot in the March 8-11 NWAACC Tournament at the Tri-Cities Coliseum in Kennewick.
Against Whatcom, the Rangers trailed 50-30 at halftime before making it interesting in the final eight minutes.
If theres been a pattern during OCs four-game losing streak, its been falling behind early against hot-shooting opponents.
I think thats been the biggest thing, Gliko said. In every one of (those losses), from the 15-minute mark to halftime, weve played poorly. Take out those 15 minutes and we play pretty well.
As for the opponents shooting Whatcom hit 59 percent of its 3-pointers and shot 46 percent overall from the floor Gliko said, A lot of that is theyre getting too many open shots. They get a little confidence early and then they start hitting shots with hands in their faces later in the game, Gliko refuses to believe that his depth-shy Rangers are wearing down.
Weve backed off on the length of time we practice, Gliko said. I think our legs are there ... how can we play our best and have our best energy in the last eight minutes of the game if our legs are gone.
I think its a mindset. Maybe we started playing the standings and felt a little pressure. Weve always talked about Its not winning and losing, but maybe our guys started to look at that, and they got tentative. We get down by 20, then they let things fly like they always have.
Freshman Fred Grupe, who averages better than 20 points and 11 rebounds a game, was in foul trouble and didnt reach double figures in points or rebounds against Whatcom or Seattle.
Fred fouled out when we were making our comeback (against Whatcom), Gliko said. Hes such a big part of what were doing. Thats some adversity when he goes out of the game.
Ken Waldo, coming off a 41-point outing against Seattle, had a solid 20-point game against Whatcom. Greg Caldwell heated up in the second half, and finished with seven 3-pointers and a team-high 25.
Ken has played well. Hes stepped up and carries us at times, Gliko said. But one time its him and Greg. One time, its him and Fred or Robbie (Bybee). We need all the guys to step up and play to their potential. Its not enough to have just a couple doing it.
Gliko remains optimistic.
I expect to play really well (today), he said.
OC women show heart
If nothing else, Olympic Colleges women earned some respect during an 81-46 loss to first-place Whatcom at Bremer Center Gym on Saturday, Feb. 23.
Trailing 46-11 at halftime, the Rangers (4-10 NWAACC, 7-18) could have quit, but they came out and played the tough Orcas (13-1, 23-2) even in the second half.
Coach Rick Peters hopes it carries over to OCs final two games, tonight at home against Everett and Saturday, March 2 at Edmonds.
I want to see the intensity and the heart we played with in the second half, Peters said. They didnt like walking off the court like we did in the first half. They decided enough is enough.
Leana Abille (11 points) and Melody Green (8 points, 8 rebounds) had the top numbers for OC, which was out-rebounded 61-39.