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Maxwell hits game-winner to lift Gig Harbor over crosstown rival Peninsula, 52-51

Gig Harbor’s Brynna Maxwell discusses game-winning shot, win over Peninsula

Gig Harbor’s Brynna Maxwell discusses game-winning shot, win over Peninsula
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Gig Harbor’s Brynna Maxwell discusses game-winning shot, win over Peninsula

There seems to be no moment too big for Gig Harbor High School senior Brynna Maxwell.

Maxwell, a University of Utah signee, scored 35 points against crosstown rival Peninsula on Wednesday night in front of a packed gym at Gig Harbor High.

None of Maxwell’s 35 points were as big as the final two. Down one with under 15 seconds to go, Maxwell dribbled to her right, past the key, stepping back and drilling the game-winning shot to seal the 52-51 win over the Seahawks.

“We had a couple screens being set,” Maxwell said. “I was one of the options and I got open. … It feels really good. I’m kind of in disbelief still but I think it’ll sink in. I’m really excited. … I think our team played a really solid second half and I’m really proud of all of them.”

Gig Harbor coach Megan Murray is accustomed to seeing these types of heroics from her star senior.

“She’s an upper level player so you expect that from her, but she just keeps giving and giving and giving,” Murray said. “She doesn’t give in. That was one of the things I told the girls twice today: ‘We are not walking off this floor without a W.’ They just kept fighting and truly believed it.”

Maxwell was visibly exhausted late in the game, but kept clawing away at the Peninsula defense.

“She hates to lose,” Murray said. “All the girls hate to lose. Every time out, they were just pumped up and knew they had to keep fighting. All of them kind of feed off each other. Coming off a state title, we know how to win. We know how to do this. We just kept believing.”

Peninsula led for most of the game, led by senior Belle Frazier, the reigning league MVP and Portland State University signee. Frazier scored a team-high 18 points in the loss.

And with about 1.5 seconds left in the game, Frazier had a chance at what would’ve been the game winner for Peninsula, but it went just wide, hitting the rim.

“Coming down the stretch, we’re lucky Belle missed that shot,” Maxwell said. “She’ll make that shot nine times out of ten.”

Peninsula (9-3 overall, 6-1 South Sound Conference 3A) had previously gone through conference play unscatched, but was handed its first league loss of the season. Gig Harbor (9-4, 6-1) moved into first place with the win.

“It’s huge,” Maxwell said. “This game has been being built up for two months straight, so it feels really good. But now we’ve got to do it again at their place, and they’re going to want revenge.”

With Gig Harbor losing Maddie Willett to graduation after last season, this was as good a chance as any for Peninsula to knock the Tides off. But Gig Harbor wasn’t ready to concede the league title away just yet.

“We may have lost Maddie but we’re still as good as last year,” Maxwell said. “We’re not afraid to fight. We may get down in some games but we’re going to battle. We’re always going to battle. We’re a scrappy team this year and we’re ready to go.”