In its second season under head coach Megan Murray, the Gig Harbor girls basketball team took second in the Class 4A Narrows League and earned a trip to the state tournament, before falling in the first round.
For Murray and the Tides, getting back to state is not only the goal now, but the expectation.
“It was fun,” Murray said of last year’s run to state. “We try to have fun with it, also be disciplined and stay focused and understand we work hard and we deserve to be there. We have the same goal this season. Obviously, we want to get to the (Tacoma) Dome. We need to go one more step.”
Gig Harbor loses three key seniors but returns a talented core group during its move down to Class 3A this season. Junior Maddie Willett, senior Emily Shields and sophomore Brynna Maxwell were some of the team’s best players a season ago. This year, the stakes are higher.
“We want to try to communicate more on the court this season,” Maxwell said. “That’s one of our goals. And we want to make it back to state and get to the Dome.”
Maxwell was a key contributor off the bench a season ago and has worked her way into the starting lineup.
“She was a great spark plug coming off the bench for us,” Murray said. “Her work ethic and determination to just get herself to play at another level is unreal. Her mindset with basketball is just completely focused.”
And Willett, a 5-foot-11 forward, was named to the All-Narrows 4A first team as a sophomore.
Murray is looking forward to seeing how the talented core comes together this season in the Class 3A South Sound Conference.
“We have a solid five coming back who understand who I am as a coach and know the offense,” Murray said. “They know the system and know what’s going on.”
As far as the new league is concerned, Murray said the Tides have faced some of its teams before and are ready for the challenge.
“We still have a couple teams from our league before, so we know those teams,” Murray said. “A couple teams that we haven’t seen before. Fortunately, played two of them in fall league. We’re expecting it to be competitive and get after it just like our other league. We’re determined. We were close last year, we want to win a league title. We have to stay focused and do all it takes to be able to achieve that.”
Gig Harbor opened its season with a 57-45 loss to Kentlake. The Tides played Curtis on Tuesday and travel to Lincoln on Thursday (Dec. 1) before jumping into SSC 3A league play.
“Our first focus is our preseason; it’s a good test for us,” Murray said. “We have to stay sharp and focused during league. When we do go into districts, hopefully we’re peaking at the right time.”