In the first leg of the crosstown rivalry game between the Gig Harbor and Peninsula boys basketball teams, this time together in the newly-formed Class 3A South Sound Conference, the game appeared to be going down to the wire in the fourth quarter. After all, visiting Gig Harbor was only leading by five points at the end of the third.
But the Tides had other ideas.
Gig Harbor (5-1 overall, 3-1 SSC 3A) exploded in the fourth quarter, outscoring Peninsula (2-4, 0-4) 25-10 and burying the Seahawks to win on the road Friday night, 62-42. Peninsula actually held a 22-20 lead at half, but the Tides outscored the Seahawks 42-20 in the second half.
“I feel like we were really calm in the locker room (at halftime),” said 6-foot-6 senior wing Avery Jones. “We had a lot of time to think about how we were playing. We came out on a 7-0 run and I felt like it was all over from there.”
Jones, a Washington State University baseball signee, was a beast for the Tides, scoring a game-high 21 points, which included 13 points in the second, nine of which came on 3-pointers.
“He played great,” Gig Harbor coach Billy Landram said of his versatile senior. “He did a good job helping break the press, he attacked, he made shots. Just his aggressiveness really stood out to me.”
Gig Harbor 6-foot-7 senior Patrick Fredrickson added 14 points for the Tides, who boasted a big size advantage over the Seahawks.
“Fredrickson has been a beast all season,” Jones said. “We just feed him every single game. I was feeling my shot tonight, so it was working out.”
Landram said the plan was to capitalize on the height advantage the Tides had.
“I think we try to always play to our strengths,” Landram said. “Whatever we feel like that is for each game, that’s what we try to exploit.”
On the other side, Peninsula coach Matt Robles was left lamenting a missed opportunity in a game that was close for three quarters.
“We just couldn’t get a stop (in the fourth quarter),” Robles said. “We literally couldn’t get a stop. Credit to Gig Harbor. They executed, they made plays and they scored on every possession.”
Peninsula junior Elijah McLaughlin led the Seahawks with 13 points.
Peninsula lost most of its starting five from a season ago, which included current Oregon State basketball player JaQuori McLaughlin. Couple that with the fact the Seahawks were missing a few key players against the Tides and Peninsula’s youth and inexperience was evident to this point in the season.
“It’s a learning experience,” Robles said. “We’ve got to keep getting better and growing. Eventually, we can’t keep blaming our youth. We’ve got to get over that. It’s just going to take time. This is a great learning experience. We got our butts kicked — fair and square. Hats off to Gig Harbor; they did a great job. All we can do is learn from it and keep getting better.”