On paper, it looked like Gig Harbor’s West Central/Southwest bi-district matchup against Wilson would be an even matchup.
On the court, it played out differently.
The Tides controlled the game from start to finish, dominating in a 66-38 win and punching a ticket to the Class 3A state tournament.
“We just put it in another gear,” said Tides senior guard and captain Emily Shields, who finished with 18 points. “We wanted it badly. It feels really good. I’m really excited.”
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Shields was locked in from the start, scoring 11 points in the first half for Gig Harbor.
“I was in a different zone,” she said. “It’s my senior year. I want to go to state. Go to the (Tacoma) Dome.”
Gig Harbor (18-3) was led by sophomore guard Brynna Maxwell, who scored a game-high 19 points, including two clutch three-pointers down the stretch in the second half.
“My coach just says to shoot when you’re open,” Maxwell said. “We needed some shots and my teammates found me. Credit to Wilson, they were playing hard. I was just able to hit some shots when we needed them.”
Gig Harbor boasted a balance attack throughout the evening. In addition to big games from Maxwell and Shields, junior wing Maddie Willett added 14 points and guard Abby Nordquist chipped in 10. Wilson was led by senior guard Josie Matz, who scored 18 points in the losing effort for the Rams. Wilson’s Kiara McMillan added 10.
Gig Harbor coach Megan Murray was all smiles after the game.
“I was trying to contain myself on the bench,” Murray said. “I’m such a ‘one game at a time, until the buzzer sounds’ type of coach. But it’s an amazing feeling.”
While Gig Harbor will still compete for the district title and seeding in the state tournament, the Tides are now guaranteed a spot in the state tournament with the win over Wilson.
“We just have to stay focused,” Murray said. “The girls were so focused coming into this game. They knew they were going to get pressure and they handled it well.”
Gig Harbor will face Bethel on Thursday, 7:45 p.m. at Olympia High School in the bi-district semifinals. Wilson (13-9) is still alive, and will face Lakes on Tuesday, 6 p.m. at North Thurston High School in a loser-out game.
Lincoln 71, Peninsula 29:The Abes will be back in the Tacoma Dome.
They cruised to the win over the Seahawks, taking a 35-14 lead at halftime, and will play in the state tournament for the fourth consecutive year.
With this win, the Abes will play next against Prairie at 6 p.m. Thursday in the district semifinals at Olympia. Lincoln is No. 3 in the WIAA’s RPI rankings and the top eight RPI-ranked teams are guaranteed a spot in the Tacoma Dome.
The highest scorer for Peninsula was Belle Frazier who got 11 points.
Peninsula will face Kelso in a loser-out game at 7:45 p.m. Tuesday at Timberline.
Bethel 48, Mountain View 26: Tianna Brown scored a game-high 15 points and Tiarra Brown had 14 points and seven rebounds as the Braves secured their first state berth since the 2011-12 season.
“We came out and we told our kids that he had to pick up our tempo,” said Bethel coach John Ainslie. “We played good aggressive man-to-man and we accumulated 14 steals in the first half and those all led to points.”
Brown had four of those steals and closely by Ghionna Porrecca had seven steals. Coach Ainslie said tenacity was the defining factor in the game.
“That was the key right there,” Ainslie said. “We broke their press and they fell back into the half court trap and we broke that with ease.”
Lakes 64, Evergreen 58: The Lancers won a narrow victory over the Plainsmen with a big fourth quarter performance that put them in the lead.
Tatiana Sparks scored 27 points.
Lakes was down by two points entering the fourth quarter.
2A WEST CENTRAL
White River 58, Lindbergh 26: The Hornets are headed to the 2A state tournament for the ninth consecutive year.
Kendall Bird dropped in 25 points and White River hounded Lindbergh defensively to secure a trip to the Yakima SunDome with the victory.
White River is No. 3 in the WIAA’s RPI rankings and the top eight RPI-ranked schools that qualify for the state tournament are guaranteed a game in the SunDome. They also advance to the district semifinals to face Port Angeles at 7:45 p.m. Thursday at Foss.
North Kitsap 49, Fife 36: Despite Christina Willis scoring 22 points and carrying the offensive load, the Vikings were too much for the Trojans.
Outside of Willis, the offense was stagnant as Breanna Hernandez and Mikaila Wise were the next highest scorers with just four points.
Leading the Vikings were a trio of double-digit scorers. Raelee Moore scored 15 points, Olivia Selembo scored 11 and Noey Barreith rounded it out with 10 on the night.
With the loss, Fife will take on Sequim in a loser-out game at 7:45 p.m. Wednesday at Wilson.
Franklin Pierce 43, Olympic 39: Alexius Foster scored a game-high 25 points as the Cardinals held off the Trojans’ late surge to secure a state berth.
Olympic’s Kiki Mitchell scored 17 points and close behind was senior Danielle Monzon who got 11 points.
Behind Foster, the next highest scorer for Franklin Pierce was junior Ashleigh Maynard who scored seven points. The Cardinals advance to the 2A district semifinals to face North Kitsap at 6 p.m. Thursday at Foss.
Tacoma Baptist 43, Evergreen Lutheran 29: The Crusaders capped their unbeaten regular season with the 1B Sea-Tac League title, cruising past reigning 1B Sea-Tac champion Evergreen Lutheran.
Top-ranked Tacoma Baptist (22-0) held the Eagles scoreless in the first quarter and limited them to four points in the second quarter to take a 27-4 lead at the break.
“To hold Evergreen Lutheran to 4 points in the first half was an accomplishment for sure,” said Tacoma Baptist head coach Beth Wing. “They’re a very solid team.”
Evergreen Lutheran’s Jessie Holder scored 20 of the Eagles’ 29 points.
“They definitely look for her but were definitely able to contain her quite a bit,” said Wing. “It’s hard to completely contain her from that basket but overall we did a good job making them work around her offense.”
Leading the way for Tacoma Baptist was senior Rachel VanLiew and junior Brooklyn Pascua who both scored 13 points.
Tacoma Baptist now enters the 1B tridistrict tournament with a winner-to-state game on Thursday against the winner of Northwest Yeshiva and Mount Vernon Christian.
“Our girls just really did such a great job taking it one game at a time,” Wing said. “We just really need to focus on what has gotten us here which is fundamentals.”
Staff writers Chase Hutchinson and Jordan Whitford contributed to this report
DISTRICT PLAYOFF SCORES
Federal Way 88, Kentridge 72
Curtis 59, Enumclaw 47
Union 63, Bellarmine Prep 53
Kentwood 76, Emerald Ridge 60
Kennedy Catholic 62, Puyallup 50
Auburn 56, Olympia 52
Mount Rainier 69, Auburn Riverside 61
Lincoln 71, Peninsula 29
Prairie 72, Timberline 25
Bethel 48, Mountain View 26
Gig Harbor 66, Wilson 38
Lakes 64, Evergreen 58
Bonney Lake 52, North Thurston 40
Yelm 57, Shelton 55
Kelso 55, Stadium 33
Franklin Pierce 42, Olympia 39
North Kitsap 49, Fife 36
White River 58, Lindbergh 26
ONLINE: Read the playoff roundup online at thenewstribune.com