Up by three against crosstown rival Peninsula High at the end of the first quarter, the Gig Harbor girls basketball team made two changes.
The first: bring in freshman Brynna Maxwell off the bench. The second: ditch the half court man-to-man defense and go to a full-court press.
Both decisions paid off, as Maxwell and the press gave the Tides a big spark.
Gig Harbor outscored Peninsula 28-7 in the second quarter, taking a 43-19 lead into the locker room. The Tides kept the momentum going in the second half, cruising to a 73-35 nonleague win Monday night in front of a big crowd on their home court.
“I just wanted to help my team,” Maxwell said. “It took a while for us to get going in the first half. I just wanted to help my team and do everything I can to help us win.”
The full-court pressure caused a young Peninsula team to start turning the ball over often. Gig Harbor took advantage.
“It was a momentum builder for us,” Maxwell said. “It gave us more confidence, helped us get some steals and some easy layups.”
Senior guard Tessa Waage led all scorers with 17 points. Maxwell chipped in 14. Several other players had more than five points for the Tides.
“It’s always good to see,” Gig Harbor coach Megan Murray said. “That’s something we always talk about: Making that one extra pass. It’s about getting the best shot possible in that possession, and the girls have really come along and really understand that. They’re playing tremendous team ball. That’s what it takes.”
The Tides were able to get everyone on the bench a lot of playing time, which Murray hopes will be valuable heading back into Narrows 4A play.
Gig Harbor (9-5 overall, 5-2 Narrows 4A) has a big matchup at home on Wednesday (Jan. 20) against first-place Bellarmine (8-6, 6-0).
“It was a good night,” Murray said. “It’s a good chance for us to get different lineups in. Everyone is just playing well and is on the same page, which is huge going into Wednesday night’s game against Bellarmine.”
Peninsula sophomore Rochelle Lauderbaugh led the team with 11 points. Freshman point guard Belle Frazier added eight for the Seahawks, who fell to 4-10 overall.