TACOMA — Last Wednesday’s game against the athletically-gifted Foss Falcons quickly turned into a mismatch for the Gig Harbor Tides boys basketball team.
Foss showed why it was The News Tribune’s eighth-ranked Class 3A team as it entered the week, as five players scored in double figures to launch the Falcons to a 66-26 victory over visiting Gig Harbor in nonleague action.
The Falcons’ full-court pressure defense dissected a lineup short on experienced ballhandlers. Foss collected 29 turnovers, 16 coming in the first half, as it built an insurmountable 38-11 lead.
Gig Harbor coach Craig Brooks gave the Falcons credit for making the game so one-sided.
“It’s a very high-caliber team, so they really kind of expose a lot of weaknesses to a team like us,” Brooks said. “The pressure that they get up into you really forces you to play and make decisions more quickly and less relaxed.
“They’re long and athletic, and they get excited and get after it.”
Foss (8-3 overall) took charge from the opening tip, scoring the first eight points. Gig Harbor (4-8) made only one field goal in the first period and trailed 17-5.
It didn’t get any better from there for the Tides. The Falcons opened the second period on a 14-1 run, punctuated by point guard Noah Hunthausen’s alley-oop pass to Dezmyn Trent for a thunderous dunk.
Trent, a 6-foot-4 senior, finished with a game-high 16 points on a variety of outside jumpers and cuts to the basket. Hunthausen scored 12, while Jericho Ballard, Tamariye Nelson and Olashawan Miller also finished with double digits.
Gig Harbor starters Chad Glover and Jared Anderson scored six points each, and George Henningsen scored five off the bench.
Maybe the most positive aspect of the game is the result didn’t mean anything for Gig Harbor’s playoffs hopes. This week, the Tides will travel to South Kitsap and Olympia for a pair of important Class 4A Narrows League contests.
Brooks indicated he wants his players to flush all the bad memories from the loss.
“It doesn’t take much film-watching of this game tonight to see what we can improve on, so in that case, it makes it easier to come to practice and prepare,” he said. “It’s always tough to prepare after a win, because you don’t understand the things you did wrong. Tonight, we understand the things we did wrong and can improve on.”
Five players suspended
Five Gig Harbor High School boys basketball players have been suspended following an undisclosed incident that occurred during the team’s trip to a tournament in Ketchikan, Alaska, from Dec. 27-30.
The Peninsula School District won’t name the players, citing student privacy laws.
“We have five players not playing ball right now, but that’s really it, and at this point I’m not privy to say anything because of privacy laws,” said Bob Werner, the school’s athletics director. “It’s a legal issue for us.”
Werner said the suspensions were for eight games and could be reduced to four, depending on steps the players take to rectify the situation.
Those consequences are consistent with the PSD’s Activities Code of Conduct for dealing with athletes who are found in possession of alcohol or illegal drugs. A first offense of the code calls for suspension “for 40 percent of the season of athletic competition” and “may be modified to 20 percent with drug and alcohol treatment.” The team’s regular season consists of 20 games.
PSD Academic Officer Dan Gregory declined to identify the players, saying that’s the case for “anything we do of a disciplinary nature.” He also declined to confirm the players’ punishments were consistent with drug or alcohol possession.
Craig Brooks, Gig Harbor’s head coach, declined to comment on the suspensions but said “time will tell” what the response will be from the rest of the players.
“We’ve got to turn a negative into a positive,” Brooks said. “They have a choice to do that, and we have a choice to do that as coaches, as a team. You can’t let it be negative. That’s a decision.”
Under the activities code, subsequent violations of the drug and alcohol policy would carry a one-year suspension from all extracurricular activities.
“The basis of any progressive punishment is we know kids make mistakes, and we hope the kids don’t repeat the mistakes in the future,” Gregory said.
In order to participate in extracurricular activities, PSD students must sign a form that states they’ve read and accepted the code of conduct. All student-athletes agree to abide by a series of rules, including the following:
• Maintain a 2.0 grade-point average and pass all but one class
• Be present at school for the entire day an extracurricular activity is scheduled
• Refrain from use, possession or sale of tobacco, alcohol or illegal drugs
• Refrain from participating “in behavior which enables or condones” drug or alcohol use by other students. That includes driving other students to events where illegal substances will knowingly be, or attending or remaining at events where they have “reasonable suspicion that illegal activity may be occurring.”Sports Editor Neil Pierson can be reached at 253-358-4155 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter, @gateway_neil.