Maximum Effort: Gach is hitting his stride at NDSCS

Published 8:53 pm Monday, November 28, 2016

When Austin grad Gach Gach packed up his bags and moved 301 miles away from his family to Wahpeton, N.D. last year, he had his heart set on becoming a better basketball player and finding a four-year school to transfer to.

As he plays in his second season at NJCAA Division I North Dakota State College of Science, Gach has already accomplished that first goal and he’s working on the getting the second one done. Gach has always been known as defensive stopper, but this year he’s stepping up on the offensive end for the Wildcats (8-1 overall).

Gach has started every game this season and he is averaging 19.4 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game, while shooting 43.4 (43-for-99) on three-pointers, 45.3 percent (58-for-128) on field goals and 80 percent (16-for-20) on free throws.

Austin grad Gach Gach goes up for a dunk for North Dakota State College of Science earlier this season. Tanner Blauffus/Whapeton Daily News

Austin grad Gach Gach goes up for a dunk for North Dakota State College of Science earlier this season. Tanner Blauffus/Whapeton Daily News

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“I’ve just been staying within the offense. I usually get a lot of switches and mismatches,” Gach said. “Defense is still a fun thing for me to do. I still like blocking people off the glass and doing the dirty work inside.”

Gach has found his success while making the transition from playing forward and center with the Packers to playing guard with the Wildcats. NDSCS head coach Stu Engen said that Gach has developed overall as a player since last year.

“He’s a high character kid,” Engen said. “He’s very coachable and it is very easy to tell that he was brought up and developed by a quality high school coach. He has always been accountable and he holds himself to a higher standard.”

Gach saw two of his Wildcat teammates go on to Division I commitments last season and that’s what he has his sights set on for himself. Gach has already garnered some interest from Division II Winona State University and Division II Augustana.

Wherever Gach plays next season, he’ll likely be gravitated towards a winning team. He played in two state championship games for the Packers and last year the Wildcats won their conference, Region and District before winning one game in the national tournament.

“Winning just drives everything,” Gach said. “In high school I had three really good seasons and we’ve been winning here. It’s natural to me.”

The toughest thing about playing 300 miles from home for Gach is the fact that he rarely sees his family. His visits home are limited, but he’s made up for it by staying busy on the basketball court and making some new friends at college.

“It’s definitely hard not being home, but my team and my friends make me feel like home around here,” Gach said.

Gach didn’t have much trouble finding his rhythm on the basketball court last season and he credited Austin head coach Kris Fadness for preparing him to compete at the college level.

“Coach Fadness definitely prepares people to move on to the next level. His practices were a lot like the practices we have here,” he said.

As Gach is making a name for himself at the college level, his younger brothers Both and Duoth, who are juniors on the Packer basketball team, are ready to make some noise as well. Both and Duoth haven’t had a chance to visit their older brother in Wahpeton, but they’ve certainly been inspired by him.

“He kind of opened the door for us to see what we can do after the high school level,” Both said.