The Gig Harbor High School girls basketball team will be back in the state tournament, but perhaps not with the momentum it was hoping for.
Gig Harbor capped off the West Central District III/Southwest bi-district tournament with a 42-35 loss to Prairie at Rogers High School in Puyallup Feb. 16, in which the Tides struggled with the Falcons’ half-court trap defense.
“We worked on it a lot in practice,” said Gig Harbor junior guard Brynna Maxwell, who finished with a game-high 17 points in the loss. “I think we were just a little passive. We weren’t attacking open gaps. We were just hoping we could dribble through it. You can’t do it against them, they’re too good of a team for us to just dribble through.”
Gig Harbor also had to deal with Prairie’s height, including 14 points from 6-foot-3 junior center Brooke Walling.
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Prairie (21-3 overall) gave Gig Harbor (18-6) all it could handle. But Gig Harbor will get a quick chance at revenge, as the Tides get a rematch with Prairie in the regional round of the state tournament on Friday (Feb. 23) at Mount Tahoma High School in Tacoma. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m.
For the Tides, playing a team of Prairie’s caliber can only be a bonus before the state tournament begins.
“It’s really good (preparation) for us,” Maxwell said. “It helps us see what kind of teams we’re going to be facing in the state tournament. We’re going to be facing teams a lot like them, some better.”
With the rematch set, the Gig Harbor players are anxious to bounce back.
“We’ll be ready and we’re looking forward to it,” Maxwell said.
Gig Harbor will need to be cleaner on the offensive end, and will likely need to score more than 35 points to knock off the Falcons this time around.
“We had some good looks,” Murray said. “They were good shots. We even tied it up late. It was just that close. We got some good looks but they just didn’t fall.”
Murray said she felt the team adjusted to the trap well in the second half, but will need to be ready from the tip, this time.
“Watching some film of this and just seeing different openings and gaps and what we need to do better,” Murray said. “We expected it. Anytime someone double teams you, someone is open. So it’s just about ball movement and cutting into the gaps.”
Gig Harbor is ranked No. 2 in the RPI and is guaranteed a spot in the Tacoma Dome. Friday’s game against Prairie will decide seeding in the state tournament.
“There’s a good team waiting for us,” Maxwell said. “We have to come out ready to go.”