Community Sports

Sports Beat | Gig Harbor falls when late shot rims off

Posted on January 26th, 2024 By:

The Gig Harbor (18-3, 9-2 South Sound Conference) boys basketball team dropped a 49-47 decision at Timberline (11-6, 9-2) on Wednesday, Jan. 24.

A three-point attempt by Gig Harbor’s Michael Masini with four seconds left almost won it for Gig Harbor. It looked good but just glanced off the rim.

Timberline raced out to a 15-4 lead in the first quarter as Gig Harbor couldn’t cash in on several shots from point-blank range. The Tides buckled down behind their defense and the smooth shooting of surging senior Drake Matthies, who had 10 points after drilling several early outside shots.

Gig Harbor battled back and claimed a 41-40 lead on Cole Browne’s driving bucket and made free throw. Browne led Gig Harbor with 11 points.

With Gig Harbor down two points on its final possession, coach Billy Landram designed an out of bounds play for Browne on a curl cut. Timberline double-teamed Browne, which left Masini open on the wing for the potential game-winner.

Masini ended up with 10 points and silky sophomore Quentin Bockhorn had nine.

Defense shines

Timberline avenged a 59-58 loss in Gig Harbor on Dec. 19. The Tides and Blazers are tied, two games behind league-leading North Thurston. The Rams remain unbeaten in league play.

Gig Harbor’s defense continues to be a bright spot. Their matchup zone doesn’t allow many open shots and their back line has rebounded well. However, the Tides will have to be intense from the opening tip from here on out as they can’t afford to dig themselves out of early deficits like they had to against Timberline.

The Tides played Capital at 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 26. Next week, they travel to Lacey to play league-leading North Thurston on Jan. 30 and face Peninsula in Purdy on Feb. 1.

Peninsula struggles against league leaders

Peninsula (2-12, 2-9) hosted North Thurston (16-2, 11-0) on Jan. 24. North Thurston’s Ray Adams collected five first-half dunks and scored 20 points to lead the Rams to a 75-34 win.

The Seahawks were overmatched but never quit. The 6-foot-8 Adams, the likely conference MVP, controlled the paint and soared over the rim consistently.

Isaac Schultz-Tait led the Seahawks with 13 points. Cole Muilenburg had eight points and four rebounds.

The Peninsula boys played at River Ridge on Jan. 26 before wrapping up their season versus Timberline and Gig Harbor next week.

Isaac Schultz-Tait is Peninsula’s leading scorer. Photo by Bryce Carithers

Gig Harbor girls fight hard vs. Timberline

The Gig Harbor (11-6, 8-3) girls basketball team gave No. 7 Timberline (16-1, 10-1) all they could handle in a 62-55 loss on Jan. 24.

Gig Harbor had several early leads behind the smooth shooting of senior guard Taylor Schwab, who eclipsed the 1,000-point career scoring mark earlier this season. Schwab had 19 points and five rebounds despite being the center of the Blazers’ defensive efforts.

Gig Harbor was cruising early but took a hit when freshman rebounding machine Willow Bonnici went to the bench with two fouls in the second period.

The Tides played aggressive defense in the first half. Senior Alex Ferrier face-guarded Timberline’s best player. Gig Harbor junior Finley Wyman and contributed on both ends of the court. Bonnici returned in the second half and finished with 14 rebounds and nine points.

Gig Harbor got several solid efforts off the bench. Center Beverly Dover defended well and hit a clutch late three-pointer, while freshman Ashlyn Pierce provided four points, three steals, three assists and three rebounds in limited minutes.

Alex Ferrier of Gig Harbor scores on a floater against Timberline. Photo by Christi Adams

The Blazers’ frantic style of play effected the Tides on offense. Timberline’s players look like they sprint to breakfast every morning and Gig Harbor got involved in an open-court game. The Blazers  forced several errant down-court passes that resulted in costly fourth-quarter turnovers.

The Tides had chances late but the Blazers pulled away in the final minutes to take the road victory.

Gig Harbor played at Capital on Jan. 26 before returning home next week for games against North Thurston and Peninsula.

Seahawk girls fall in competitive game vs. unbeaten NT

The Peninsula (9-6, 7-5) girls played hard against unbeaten North Thurston (14-0, 11-0) on the road but lost, 53-42.

The Seahawks were within four to six points of the No. 6 team in the state for most of the game and were only down five at halftime. But a few mistakes in their zone defense allowed the Rams to stretch the lead.

“It was a competitive game, but they pulled away,” Peninsula coach Hannah Lekson said. “My girls played well and fought for the entire game and I’m proud of how they played. Had Kaylia (Heidelberg) hit a few three-pointers that she usually makes, the game would’ve been completely different.”

Heidelberg led her team in scoring with 17 points. She also passed the 1,000 point career scoring mark in an earlier win versus Central Kitsap. Heidelberg didn’t play as a freshman, which makes the scoring accomplishment even more impressive.

The Seahawks’ Grace Richardson contributed 14 points, nine rebounds and solid defense against the Rams’ leading scorer.

The Seahawks have locked up a playoff spot and hope to earn the SSC’s third position in their remaining three games.

Peninsula hosted River Ridge on Jan. 26 before crucial road games next week at Timberline and Gig Harbor to close out the regular season.

League wrestling showdown

The Peninsula (4-1) boys wrestling team hosted conference rival Yelm (5-0) at 3 p.m. Jan. 26. The Seahawks are a deep and competitive team that is hungry for a chance at a South Sound Conference crown.

Yelm will provide a stiff test for the Seahawks as they will soon be saying goodbye to retiring coach Gaylord Strand, who has coached wrestling for 50 years at Yelm High School. That type of longevity is rare today as consistent turnover seems to be becoming the norm. They say a high school coach can influence more people in a year than most people do in a lifetime and Strand’s commitment to his athletes and his sport is a remarkable achievement.

Don’t expect a retirement gift from the Seahawks, though, as they look to earn a title for coach Gary Griffin, who has spent over a decade coaching at Peninsula.

Dance, cheerleading teams to compete at state

Gig Harbor’s defending state champion cheerleading team and dance team, H2Whoa!, will be in action next weekend along with the impressive cheer team from Peninsula. Both qualified for the state tournament Feb. 2 and 3 at Battle Ground High School in Clark County.

H2Whoa!, the Gig Harbor dance team, competes for a state title Feb. 2-3. Photo by Bryce Carithers

Cheerleading is just as demanding of a sport as any other on the winter schedule, but the skills of these participants can often go overlooked.

Cheerleading requires strength, balance, coordination, rhythm, flexibility and solid nerves as many of their members provide stunts and holds far above the ground. Add in a healthy amount of determination and perseverance to the mix as both teams have practiced their routines for months as they prepare for next week’s state championships.

Peninsula High cheerleaders at a recent competition. Photo courtesy PHS cheerleading