The Class 4A Narrows League isn’t likely to exist next season, but as of right now, Gig Harbor High sophomore Maddie Willett is one of the league’s rising stars.
Willett is leading the Tides with 9.3 points per game and is averaging 6.1 rebounds per game.
“I’m a lot more confident in my skills,” Willett said. “I’ve gotten better and hit the weights. I’m not scrawny anymore.”
Willett was already one of the team’s best players as a freshman. Now with some added muscle, an inside game and an outside jumper to match, teams around the league are beginning to take notice. Her ability to play inside and out makes her a valuable asset for second-year coach Megan Murray.
She’s really good around the basket — it’s one of her strengths. With mismatches with different lineups, we’re able to stick her down there and get her the basketball.
Gig Harbor coach Megan Murray on Maddie Willett
“I think she’s really stepped up position-wise,” Murray said. “We’ve kind of got her between a 3 (small forward) and a 4 (power forward). It’s helped a ton, scoring-wise, with her being able to score around the basket. She’s come along great. She’s really good around the basket — it’s one of her strengths. With mismatches with different lineups, we’re able to stick her down there and get her the basketball. It’s really helped boost her scoring and confidence.”
Willett could probably average double-digit points, if she wanted. But her focus — and the team’s — has been less about individual statistics and more about being getting everyone involved. In Monday night’s game against Peninsula, seven players scored more than five points.
“We’re a team that’s gotten a lot less selfish,” Willett said. “We’ve been working on that. We always look for the better shot.”
Willett isn’t allowed to be officially recruited until her junior season, but she’s attended various camps at Pacific-12 schools and has drawn interest from various coaches. She has received “general info” mail from many schools regarding information about camps, but hasn’t received any personally-directed mail or calls.
Murray sees her as a next-level player.
“It just depends on what level and how much more she develops,” Murray said. “She’s still young so it’s kind of hard to pan that out. But she’s definitely a next-level kid if she continues to keep it up and put the work in.”
Willett will let the process play itself out. For now, she’s just concerned about helping the team reach the 4A state tournament.
“I honestly just want to get better and play every game to my hardest,” Willett said. “Right now, our team is working a lot harder. We might not be the best in the state but we’re getting there because we have a really good work ethic. Every practice is like a game.”