The Gig Harbor High School boys basketball team received a much-needed boost last week.
Senior All-Narrows 4A first-team forward Sam Gagliardi returned to the starting lineup after missing the first half of the season with a lingering foot injury.
“It’s terrible watching from the bench,” Gagliardi said. “My team is putting everything out there; every game has been close. I just want to be out there competing with them, hopefully helping them win.”
While Gagliardi’s return to the lineup didn’t result in a win on Friday night against South Kitsap, Gig Harbor (4-8 overall, 0-5 Narrows 4A) figures to improve as Gagliardi eases back into game action.
“He’s a good ball handler, better rebounder,” Gig Harbor coach Billy Landram said. “Obviously, he can score. When he’s a focal point of the offense and gets taken out, everything kind of gets thrown askew. It’ll be good to get him back.”
Gagliardi should help Gig Harbor put the ball in the net more often. The Tides are averaging 53 points per game through 12 games so far this season. Gagliardi will join senior forward Mike Toglia, a UCLA baseball commit who has enjoyed a breakout season with the Tides.
“I can’t wait (to play with Toglia),” Gagliardi said. “I played with him in the fall a little bit and it was awesome. We complement each other’s game really well. When we get back out there, I think we’ll be good.”
After the loss to South Kitsap on Friday, Gig Harbor is desperate to get into the win column at home on Wednesday (Jan. 13) against Stadium High School at 7 p.m. The Tides went 2-2 in a holiday tournament in San Diego over Christmas break, and Landram hopes the experience will carry over into success down the stretch in the Narrows League.
“We got better at shot selection and realizing who we want to shoot the ball,” Landram said. “We were pretty stingy on defense after the first day. I think it’s just a day-to-day process about getting better. I don’t think it’s anything magical that’s occurred.”
Landram has been consistent with his message regarding daily improvement over the course of the season. It worked for the Tides last year, and the players are hoping it works similarly this season. Getting Gagliardi back may prove to be the spark the Tides need.
“I’m super excited,” Gagliardi said. “Senior year, everything is big. I love playing big games. It’ll be fun.”
Gagliardi scored nine points in Gig Harbor’s loss to South Kitsap on Friday. Toglia led the team with 18 points, while senior guard Cory Condon added 10.
South Kitsap senior Eric Wattree scored 29 points, including 21 in the second half. The Wolves won, 58-52.