Gateway: Sports

Gig Harbor’s experienced backcourt has Tides feeling confident

Gig Harbor High senior guard Tessa Waage looks to guide the Tides to a Class 4A state tournament appearance this season.
Gig Harbor High senior guard Tessa Waage looks to guide the Tides to a Class 4A state tournament appearance this season. Staff writer

The Gig Harbor High School girls basketball team may only have three seniors on the roster, but they all figure to have a big impact on this season’s success.

Guards Tessa Waage, Sydney Bertholf and forward Emily Davis make the Tides an experienced team hoping to capitalize off last season’s district tournament appearance, in which Gig Harbor fell one game short of reaching the Class 4A state tournament.

The Tides are in their second season under coach Megan Murray, who breathed some new life into the Gig Harbor program. Now, the players are more familiar with Murray’s system and what she expects from them.

“The team chemistry is awesome,” Waage said. “We know the plays now. We’re able to practice them more efficiently. We just gel really well together, and it’s still early (in the season). It’s nice that we’re already at that level.”

Gig Harbor is currently 1-1, with a 52-41 win over North Kitsap and a 52-42 loss to Lake Stevens. Now, the Tides will open league play in the Class 4A Narrows. The leadership from the three seniors will be crucial.

“(Bertholf) and I had a lot of experience from last year, and Emily Davis is a captain with me this year,” Waage said. “We’re really excited about that. She has taken on a leadership role, too.”

Murray has been pleased with the contributions of her senior class.

“They come with a lot of experience, which is great, and leadership,” Murray said. “(Waage and Davis) are my vocal leaders. (Bertholf) is a quiet leader; she just gets things done on the floor. She’s so aggressive and is such a key player to a lot of possessions, and our team in general.”

The Tides are already much further along than they were at this point last season, according to Murray.

“That’s a huge difference,” Murray said. “Having one year under our belt; the girls understanding and knowing the system. The first two weeks of what I had to teach last year, we were able to get that done in three of four days, and start adding new stuff and get to some new stuff. You can tell ... they’re just so much further along.”

The goal, as it is every year, is to make it to the 4A state tournament. But there’s a real belief amongst the girls that they can get there this season.

“Last year, it was interesting to see. I wasn’t sure how far we’d go,” Waage said. “I was surprised. This year, I think we can make it to state. I’m ready for it. I know what to expect.”

Everyone is on the same page in regard to making the state tournament.

“The girls know that it won’t be any easy thing to get right back to districts, but long-term, with the goal at the end of the season, we’re definitely pushing to get to state,” Murray said.