The Gig Harbor High School girls basketball program has a new career points leader. Senior wing Maddie Willett broke Rebecca Sexton’s mark of 949 points, which has stood since 2007.
Willett broke the record with a 3-pointer in Gig Harbor’s 43-40 loss to Timberline on Jan. 3. She currently has 972 career points.
“I was proud of myself, of course,” Willett said. “But I wasn’t really ecstatic.”
That’s because Willett was focused on the game, still. She had no idea she was creeping up the record — her parents and her coach, Megan Murray, did an excellent job keeping it a secret from Willett. So when Willett broke the record midway through the game against Timberline, Willett wasn’t sure how to react.
The public announcer made an announcement regarding the record during a timeout and Willett was handed a special ball commemorating her achievement.
Willett’s parents were in the stands, cheering loudly, along with her neighbors and some of her close friends.
“It was cool that a lot of people were that maybe wouldn’t have normally been there,” Willett said. “Then the announcer said something about it during the timeout. I don’t really hear people while I’m playing. I was just focused on the game.”
Gig Harbor came out on the losing end this time against the Blazers, but it was still a night to remember for the program, and especially for Willett.
“It’s very cool,” she said. “I’m very proud of myself. I did this with missing multiple games, battling different kinds of injuries and playing a position that’s not my regular position. And I also did it with being a good teammate and sharing the ball. I think team is a very important concept in basketball. You play basketball for fun, and I want basketball to be fun for everybody on my team. I want everybody to be included and everyone to get involved in the game. It’s everyone, even all the fans. Everyone helped. I didn’t do this alone.”
Murray was proud to see her senior claim the record.
“I think it’s awesome,” Murray said. “Anytime anybody can do that during their four-year varsity career, I think it’s an awesome accomplishment.”
Murray lauded Willett’s versatility and presence since she stepped on campus as a freshman.
“She’s well deserving of it,” Murray said. “As a freshman, she was the focal point of our offense. She has the ability to score and the diversity of playing the 3 and 4 spots, the ability to score inside, but also be able to lull the defense to the perimeter. Her perimeter shooting has gotten a lot better the last couple years. Definitely, being able to have both is a huge asset.”
Willett celebrated with her parents at The Float in Purdy with her favorite meal, some clam strips. Willett knows her days as the record holder will most likely be numbered. Junior Brynna Maxwell could eclipse the record soon, possibly even later this year, or early next season. If that’s the case, Willett is rooting for her.
“I think it’d be awesome for someone to break it again,” Willett said. “I’d be proud for anyone who did that. I think it’s cool for someone to break it. Basketball is competitive but it’s also supposed to be fun. I’m proud of this but it doesn’t define who I am. There’s a lot more in basketball than just scoring.”