Gig Harbor girls basketball coach Megan Murray has seen that chemistry between Brynna Maxwell and Maddie Willett enough to know how lethal it is.
It was brand new to Garfield coach Lee Adams.
Maxwell scored a game-high 32 points and Willett added 23 as the Tides took over with a fourth-quarter surge in a 64-56 victory over No. 10 Garfield at Wilson High School in the Assist For Life Fight Cancer Basketball Showcase on Saturday.
“Between her and Maddie, they’re very capable of doing that,” Murray said. “We expect that from them. They just played phenomenal, and it just makes everybody else play within that flow, too. And a lot of confidence.”
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Gig Harbor (10-4) won its fourth straight. Garfield (10-4) lost its second in its last four games.
Samaiyah Tolliver led the Bulldogs with 16 points, while Dalayah Daniels had 10 points with 11 rebounds.
Maxwell took over early in the fourth quarter after Garfield had taken a 44-43 lead on a 3-pointer by Samaiyah Tolliver with 7:07 to play. From there, the Gig Harbor junior guard and reigning TNT All-Area selection scored nine straight points, capped by a 10-footer on the right baseline.
Garfield never led the game again.
“Credit to Garfield, they played really tough D,” Maxwell said. “But if I was open, I was going to shoot it.”
It even raised Adams’ eyebrows. Maxwell also pulled down 11 rebounds in the victory.
“I felt good about how we guarded her,” he said, “then I looked at the box score.”
But the game was iced in a finish that saw all the Tides on the floor contribute a little.
Garfield’s Dalayah Daniels scored a basket in the paint with 56 seconds left, cutting the Gig Harbor lead to 58-55. But Tides guard Sydney Langworthy was fouled in the backcourt and converted both free throws.
On the Bulldogs’ ensuing possession, Emani Turner missed a 3-pointer from the left wing, Willett pulled the rebound, sealing the victory for Gig Harbor.
The Tides went 12-for-13 from the foul line in the last 3:57 to keep Garfield at bay.
Early on, Maxwell and Willett seemingly took turns tormenting the Bulldogs. Maxwell hit her first three shots from the floor en route to scoring nine points in the first quarter. When her turn came, Willett – who scored her 1,000th career point for Gig Harbor on Friday night — was equally torrid. She hit 4 of 6 shots from the floor and making four free throws for 13 second-quarter points.
Oh, and Gig Harbor now has two scorers in school history who have reached 1,000 points — Willett and now Maxwell. Her 32 points in this game put her exactly at 1,000 for her career.
“Whatever it takes to win,” Maxwell said. “If they need shots, I’ll give them shots. When Maddie was going off in the first half, I was getting her the ball.”
The Tides also managed to hold off Garfield, even while the Bulldogs’ press in the second half was giving them fits at times.
“I just told them, be ready, the pressure’s coming at some point.” Murray said. “They love to press and trap and do that, and they showed that. I think, mentally, the girls were just ready for that and handled it well.”
The Gig Harbor victory was also the latest on a tough slate that’s meant to get the squad prepared for postseason.
“Our coach always tries to schedule tough games for us so we’re prepared for districts and state and things like that,” Maxwell said. “Coming into the game, we had to really mentally focus, that was the main thing.”