Gig Harbor High senior captains Emily Shields and Katie Emery likely won’t go out and score 30 points apiece on any given night for the Tides. But their leadership and play on the court has been invaluable for the Tides, who are undefeated in the Class 3A South Sound Conference with a 10-0 record in league and a 12-3 overall record.
The two captains are starters on the team, hard workers on the court and are players that other girls look to for guidance and advice.
Emery is known by her teammates as outgoing.
“She’s really goofy, and light-hearted as well,” Shields said. “She’s always smiling and having fun. She keeps everyone upbeat.”
That doesn’t mean Shields is shy, either.
“She’s very outgoing and talkative,” Emery said of her co-captain. “She’s vocal. Everyone comes to Shields. She’s easy to talk to.”
Together, they bring a little light-heartedness to the squad that has its fair share of intense players. But that doesn’t mean they’re soft on the court. The pair prides themselves on their defense, something that is a constant preaching point from coach Megan Murray.
We’re both kind of that way — we love playing defense. We love getting after it. We try to turn our defense into offense.
Emily Shields, Gig Harbor senior captain
“We’re both kind of that way — we love playing defense,” Shields said. “We love getting after it. We try to turn our defense into offense.”
For Emery, a 6-footer, her defensive works comes mostly in the post.
“Defense is really competitive in the post,” Emery said. “I’m always fighting for that one spot.”
Junior Maddie Willett and sophomore Brynna Maxwell have emerged as the team’s stars this season, carrying the scoring load for the team.
“Being a point guard, it’s really nice having two great scorers to get the ball to,” Shields said. “That’s been nice. I think when we’re struggling, we can get them the ball.”
For Emery, Willett and Maxwell’s scoring ability is the perfect complement.
“They balance us out,” Emery said. “We’re more defensive players. We just balance each other.”
Shields and Emery said they’ve enjoyed mentoring the underclassmen and being role models for younger players this season.
Leading for younger people is an honor.
Katie Emery, Gig Harbor senior captain
“Leading for younger people is an honor,” Emery said.
Shields said when she arrived in high school, she struggled with confidence on the basketball court. Being able to lift younger players up and help them play with confidence is something she’s constantly striving to do.
“Just having the confidence to shoot when you’re open — stuff like that,” Shields said. “I always try to tell the other girls that I want them to shoot — we want you to shoot.”
In their last run on the high school team, Shields and Emery share one goal: Getting to the Tacoma Dome.
“We were one game away last year,” Shields said. “It’s been our goal since seventh grade.”
And not just for themselves — but for their coach, also.
“I think (Murray) does such a good job of building this program up,” Shields said. “We want to get her the recognition she deserves. Let’s go win state.”