Gig Harbor girls basketball coach Megan Murray has seen that chemistry between Brynna Maxwell and Maddie Willett enough to know how lethal it is.
It was brand new to Garfield coach Lee Adams.
Maxwell scored a game-high 32 points and Willett added 23 as the Tides took over with a fourth-quarter surge in a 64-56 victory over No. 10 Garfield at Wilson High School in the Assist For Life Fight Cancer Basketball Showcase on Saturday.
“Between her and Maddie, they’re very capable of doing that,” Murray said. “We expect that from them. They just played phenomenal, and it just makes everybody else play within that flow, too. And a lot of confidence.”
Gig Harbor (10-4) won its fourth straight. Garfield (10-4) lost its second in its last four games.
Samaiyah Tolliver led the Bulldogs with 16 points, while Dalayah Daniels had 10 points with 11 rebounds.
Maxwell took over early in the fourth quarter after Garfield had taken a 44-43 lead on a 3-pointer by Samaiyah Tolliver with 7:07 to play. From there, the Gig Harbor junior guard and reigning TNT All-Area selection scored nine straight points, capped by a 10-footer on the right baseline.
Garfield never led the game again.
“Credit to Garfield, they played really tough D,” Maxwell said. “But if I was open, I was going to shoot it.”
It even raised Adams’ eyebrows. Maxwell also pulled down 11 rebounds in the victory.
“I felt good about how we guarded her,” he said, “then I looked at the box score.”
But the game was iced in a finish that saw all the Tides on the floor contribute a little.
Garfield’s Dalayah Daniels scored a basket in the paint with 56 seconds left, cutting the Gig Harbor lead to 58-55. But Tides guard Sydney Langworthy was fouled in the backcourt and converted both free throws.
On the Bulldogs’ ensuing possession, Emani Turner missed a 3-pointer from the left wing, Willett pulled the rebound, sealing the victory for Gig Harbor.
The Tides went 12-for-13 from the foul line in the last 3:57 to keep Garfield at bay.
Early on, Maxwell and Willett seemingly took turns tormenting the Bulldogs. Maxwell hit her first three shots from the floor en route to scoring nine points in the first quarter. When her turn came, Willett – who scored her 1,000th career point for Gig Harbor on Friday night — was equally torrid. She hit 4 of 6 shots from the floor and making four free throws for 13 second-quarter points.
Oh, and Gig Harbor now has two scorers in school history who have reached 1,000 points — Willett and now Maxwell. Her 32 points in this game put her exactly at 1,000 for her career.
“Whatever it takes to win,” Maxwell said. “If they need shots, I’ll give them shots. When Maddie was going off in the first half, I was getting her the ball.”
The Tides also managed to hold off Garfield, even while the Bulldogs’ press in the second half was giving them fits at times.
“I just told them, be ready, the pressure’s coming at some point.” Murray said. “They love to press and trap and do that, and they showed that. I think, mentally, the girls were just ready for that and handled it well.”
The Gig Harbor victory was also the latest on a tough slate that’s meant to get the squad prepared for postseason.
“Our coach always tries to schedule tough games for us so we’re prepared for districts and state and things like that,” Maxwell said. “Coming into the game, we had to really mentally focus, that was the main thing.”
Lincoln 58, Bishop Blanchet 33: Kondalia Montgomery scored a game-high 13 points and Sharayah Johnson added 12 as the Abes picked up their fifth consecutive victory and earned a measure of revenge for a loss in last year’s state semifinal.
That game last year was Lincoln’s first trip to the state semifinals since 1980, but Blanchet ended the Abes run a game short of the state title before Blanchet lost to Mercer Island.
Lincoln (12-1) took it to the Braves early in this one, with Johnson scoring 10 points in the first half on the way to grabbing a 30-13 halftime advantage.
It was a departure for the Abes, as coach Jamila Jones said his players had been having a tough time getting going early.
“Today, they knew they needed to come out hard,” Jones said. “And we play again on Monday, so a lot of them, they wanted a little bit of rest.”
Ella DiPietro scored 12 points to lead Bishop Blanchet (8-4).
Timberline 54, Wilson 43: Kiara Brooks, the Blazers’ standout point guard, paced them to a third consecutive win Saturday night in Tacoma.
Her hustle in transition and dynamic play driving into the paint helped Timberline rally past a physical Wilson team in the second half.
Brooks, a junior, finished with a team-high 17 points for the Blazers — and two gashes crossing her right eye.
“We’ve been playing a lot of teams from our league, so it’s nice to have a team that’s not in our league to see what we’re going to see in the playoffs, and how physical it can get,” Brooks said. “We just have to get bigger and more physical, too.”
Keshara Romain chipped in 13 points for Timberline, while junior forward Mia Harriott added 11, and Brooks scored 10 of her 17 points in the second half to keep Wilson out of reach.
“She’s taken a step forward,” Borchardt said of Brooks, who averages 16.4 points per game. “Her scoring has increased, which we wanted her to do. ... She’s just maturing into an all-around point guard.”
Timberline allowed just eight points from the Rams in the final quarter to pull away.
“One of our keys is always defense,” Romain said.
Freshman guard Aaliyah Walker scored a game-high 18 points for the Rams, and junior guard Brooklyn Grant added nine — all on 3-pointers in the first three minutes of the game to give Wilson an early lead — but it wasn’t enough.
Timberline (8-4, 6-2 3A South Sound Conference) remains in the three-way tie for second place behind Gig Harbor in league play. Borchardt and Brooks both said it was good to get a win against district rival Wilson, which ended Timberline’s season last year.
Saturday’s game was part of a six-game slate at Wilson High School’s “Assist for Life Basketball Classic.” All proceeds, including the $2,597 raised from ticket sales, benefit the fight against cancer.
Staff writer Lauren Smith contributed to this report
No. 10 Garfield
Garfield: Sah’Cari Davis 4, Kayla Brandidge 3, Jayla Howard 1, Nivena Henley 9, Samaiyah Tolliver 16, Tamia Mobley 6, Emani Turner 7, Dalayah Daniels 10.
Gig Harbor: Brynna Maxwell 32, Meghan Edwards 2, Sydney Langworthy 4, Grace Neil 3, Maddie Willett 23.
No. 6 Lincoln
Bishop Blanchet: Ella DiPietro 12, Katie Merrywell 7, Jessica Segle 5, Anna Summers 2, Minnie Miller 5, Katie Henricksen 1, Ava DiPietro 1.
Lincoln: Faith Brantley 9, Azallee Johnson 6, Ashia Donahue 8, Sharayah Johnson 12, Kondalia Montgomery 13, SaNaya McAffe 5, Elizabeth Frazier 2, Joclyen Wyatt 1, Lisi Brooks 2.