The 2012-13 season tipped off Thursday evening for the Gig Harbor High boys, who dropped a 58-51 decision to the visiting Mount Tahoma Thunderbirds.
There were a lot of positives for the Tides to take away from the game, said head coach Craig Brooks and senior guard Carson Gearhart, whom I spoke with afterward. Eight of the Tides' 12 players are brand-new to the varsity level, and only seniors Jared Anderson and Jared Murphy have any significant time there.
Brooks and Gearhart indicated they expect the Tides to be successful once they adjust to the speed of the game, settle into their roles and make fewer mistakes. Turnovers and missed free throws were probably the two biggest reasons for the loss to Mount Tahoma.
Here's a look at the the Gig Harbor boys - the story will appear in the Gateway's Dec. 5 print issue:
It’s not unusual to see a team have a lot of unforced mistakes in the first game of the season, and that’s what happened to the Gig Harbor High boys basketball team on Thursday.
The Tides’ 12-man roster has only two players with significant varsity experience, and that might have been the key reason for their 58-51 loss to the Mount Tahoma Thunderbirds at Gig Harbor’s John Gorrow Gymnasium.
Mount Tahoma’s Brian Neal canned five 3-pointers in the first half, and the Tides committed several crucial turnovers as their fourth-quarter rally fell short.
Senior guard Carson Gearhart said the Tides are a young team, and their mistakes helped the Thunderbirds come away with the victory.
“They’re not that good offensively,” Gearhart said of Mount Tahoma. “They just dribble and they kick it. (Neal) got hot, and we got down in the first quarter, and that’s kind of what screwed us up for the rest of the game.”
Craig Brooks, the Tides’ second-year coach, expects his players to learn from the loss.
“Some things were just a little bit off — our placement, our passing,” Brooks said. “I think they’ll be ironed out eventually, but it takes things like this to get better, and understand that we need to get better.”
With the graduation losses of several key players, including forward Cyrus Ward, who earned a basketball scholarship to Corban University in Oregon, the Tides are dealing with a lot of change as the 2012-13 season begins.
The two returning varsity players are senior forward Jared Anderson and senior guard Jared Murphy, who played key roles for a squad that rallied from a slow start last year to earn the Class 4A Narrows League’s final playoff spot.
At 6-foot-7, Anderson will be a major focal point under the basket at both ends of the court. He scored a game-high 18 points in the loss to Mount Tahoma.
“He’s the best post in the league,” Gearhart said. “He works harder than anyone, and he’s unstoppable, in my opinion.”
Brooks said Anderson has improved offensively over the past year. The big man is a natural lefty, but is better at finishing shots with his right hand now.
“He’s excited about having the weight on his shoulders in terms of a lot of responsibility,” the coach said. “I think he can handle it. He’s been in the weight room a ton, and so he’s ready to run the floor and work hard for us.”
Murphy, who notched 10 points against the Thunderbirds, is the backcourt leader, but the Tides think they have other threats with senior Kody Davis and juniors Chad Glover and Mason Selby.
Then there’s Gearhart, who missed all of the 2011-12 season with a broken bone and torn ligaments in his thumb. He played a reserve role for the Tides two years ago when they qualified for the state tournament.
“He’s real good at being under control against pressure, and he’s very good at pushing the ball up the floor for us,” Brooks said of Gearhart.
“It was a good experience to get back on the court,” Gearhart said. “The first game, there’s some good things that we saw, so we’ll be fine.”
Gig Harbor trailed by as many as 14 points against Mount Tahoma, but a Davis jumper at the buzzer trimmed the deficit to 32-25 at halftime.
With six minutes to play, Gearhart found Anderson for a transition layup that got the Tides within two points, but the T-Birds immediately answered with a 9-0 spurt to cement the win.
“I’m not worried about the future,” Brooks said. “We just need to learn from this, and I know that we will, because we have that aspect of hard work and we’re willing to get down and fix what we need to fix.”