In Tessa Waage’s sophomore season, the Gig Harbor High School girls basketball team didn’t even make the postseason.
But things have changed.
Now a senior, Waage is one of the many key players for the 13-6 Tides, who finished in second place in the Class 4A Narrows League after a 52-6 drubbing of Stadium High School in last week’s regular-season finale.
“Our growth in two years has been awesome,” Waage said.
The Tides were one game away from making the Class 4A state tournament last season. This year, the players are confident they can get there.
“We’re really confident,” said junior guard Emily Shields. “We’re just playing together. There’s no one person on our team. Everyone can score.”
Indeed, the Tides boast a balanced scoring attack with threats all over the floor. The team hasn’t had to deal with any selfishness or egos from any of the players.
“It just comes with everyone,” Shields said. “Everyone is really good friends. This is one of the closest teams I’ve ever been on. There’s only nine players. Everyone wants everyone to score.”
It’s not something that can be taught, according to Waage.
“We got lucky,” she said. “Our girls’ personalities are awesome.”
The Tides finished with a 9-3 record in league and will host Rogers (Puyallup) at 7 p.m. Thursday (Feb. 11) in the first round of the West Central District III tournament. While the Tides have shown the ability to put the ball in the hoop, the other side of the ball will be just as important in the playoffs.
“We just need to keep working on our defense,” Shields said. “I think that’s our strength. We do a really good job of talking and playing help defense.”
The Tides will try to do what’s been working for them all year: Play team basketball.
“(Coach Megan Murray) really emphasizes team,” Shields said. “That’s the biggest thing. Everything we do is team oriented.”
For Waage, it’s been an up and down ride in her high school career. Now under the tutelage of Murray, getting to the Tacoma Dome would be a dream come true for the senior guard.
“It would be so cool,” Waage said. “I want that so bad, and I know everybody else on the team does, too. We just need to work together and be confident in our abilities. I think we’re better than we were last year.”