Gig Harbor girls clinch state tournament berth
The Gig Harbor girls basketball team is going to state after a hard-fought 50-41 overtime win against Central Kitsap on Friday, Feb. 17.
This game was a defensive battle, and the Tides led just 20-17 in the middle of the third quarter. Both teams appeared nervous on offense but tenacious on defense.
New rebound record
Tides center Riley Peschek released her nervous energy by relentlessly pursuing every rebound. She dominated another opponent who simply could not box her out or leap with her
Peschek collected 26 rebounds, breaking her own single-game record of 25 set in a January win over Timberline. She also set a new school record for rebounds in a season.
“Setting the record again feels great,” Peschek said. “Getting this far in the postseason has made it possible for me to be the season leader and I wouldn’t be here without my team making it this far.”
The Cougars didn’t have an answer for Peschek, but had success with their full court press. With the pressure forcing turnovers, Central Kitsap trailed only 28-24 at the end of the third quarter.
Schwab takes over
CK took the lead in the fourth quarter. But Tides guard Taylor Schwab kept her team in the game, repeatedly scoring to tie things up.
The Cougars were up two points with 23 seconds to go and appeared state tournament bound after drawing a foul. But a Cougar missed the front end of a one-and-one, and Schwab attacked the basket again. She showed exceptional body control to make a twisting layup through contact to tie the game at 38 and force overtime.
The Cougars appeared to tire in overtime after applying full-court pressure all game. Meanwhile, the Tides got contributions from numerous players: senior Olivia Paul, who was productive with 12 points, hit two free throws. Freshman Kaliyah Miller added a big bucket for a 47-40 lead and sophomore Finley Wyman collected a couple of her 11 rebounds.
And Schwab continued to be clutch. She hit eight free throws in overtime en route to a game-high 22 points as the Tides moved on to state with a 50-41 victory.
The Tides lost two starters to knee injuries this year but persevered through a long and trying season. As they say, winning cures all.
“Getting to state feels great,” Peschek said. “In the beginning of the season we had injuries that made it unsure if we would make it this far and we proved everyone wrong.”
Tides seeded 18th
The win was also rewarding for the coaching staff of Mike Guinasso, Corey Schwab and James Bonicci. Guinasso inherited a program coming off a state title in 2018, but was very young and uncertain after the resignation of former coach Megan Murray.
“When I got the job it was a great program to step into, the way they ran things and the fundamentals were all there,” Guinasso said. “This year has been great because it’s the first year you get to see ‘your own’ type of culture kick in. We have a bunch of tough kids that helps, they don’t back down. Yes, there’s things we need to get better at but they compete every time we step on the court and the girls are starting to play with confidence, which is so nice to see.”
Gig Harbor (14-9) earned the No. 18 seed in the 20-team Class 3A state tournament. The Tides face No. 15 Auburn-Mountainview (15-6) in a loser-out game at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 21.
Peninsula girls play Friday
Peninsula earned the No. 12 seed into the state girls basketball tournament after the Seahawks (18-5) fell to Bonnet Lake in the district tournament third-place game.
The Seahawks dropped the 44-39 decision on Saturday, Feb. 18, at Auburn High.
Peninsula will face the winner of a game between No. 13 Everett (16-8) and No. 20 Bishop Blanchet (12-14) at 6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 24 at Tacoma Community College. A win in that game would put Peninsula in a round-of-12 state tournament game on March 1 at the Tacoma Dome.
GH boys seeded ninth
Gig Harbor earned the No. 9 seed to the Class 3A boys basketball state tournament after losing the district title game on Saturday, Feb. 18.
The Tides fell to defending state champion Auburn, 60-59, in the district championship.
Gig Harbor (21-3) plays next in a loser-out game at 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25, at Tacoma Community College. The Tides will face either 16th-seeded Shorecrest (16-6) or 17th-seeded Stadium (15-8).
A win on Feb. 25 would put Gig Harbor in a round-of-12 game at the Tacoma Dome on March 1.