Gateway: Sports

Gig Harbor's Willett named 3A player of the year

Gig Harbor's Maddie Willett was named the Class 3A state player of the year.
Gig Harbor's Maddie Willett was named the Class 3A state player of the year. Courtesy

The recognition for the Gig Harbor High School girls basketball team keeps coming, on the heels of the program’s first state title.

Senior Maddie Willett has been named the Class 3A player of the year by the Washington State Girls Basketball Coaches Association, while coach Megan Murray was named the 3A coach of the year.

Gig Harbor defeated Garfield, 51-48 on March 3 in the Class 3A state championship game at the Tacoma Dome.

“With both of us coming from the same team, that’s really special,” Willett said. “Just being recognized shows fans and people that girls basketball isn’t what people think it is. It’s very competitive, fun to watch and play. I think next year, my teammates will have a lot more people in the stands cheering them on. I think that’ll help girls want to play basketball. I think it’s cool to show young girls they can do whatever they dream of. If they love something, they should just go after it.”

Willett and the rest of the team have been on a nonstop celebration tour after winning the title, being recognized by the Gig Harbor city council, Tacoma Athletic Commission, local restaurants and others. Everywhere they’ve gone, the team has worn their state champions shirts and sweatshirts.

“At one point, I felt like we just kept wearing the same thing every single day,” Willett said, with a laugh.

Even a month later, the reality of winning the state title hasn’t fully resonated with Willett.

“It’s still not as sunken in as it could be,” she said. “It’s just really unbelievable. It felt like it went so fast. … Every single person on our team had a part of that. It was a really special experience. We came out and just killed it, finished our season with the best thing you could hope for.”

Willett is still undecided on where she’ll attend college, and if she plans on playing basketball at the next level. She plans to make her decision by May 1.

“It just comes down to what the best fit is for me, what I want to do with the rest of my life,” Willett said.