Community Sports

Peninsula needs upset over Gig Harbor to make playoffs

Posted on February 2nd, 2023 By:

The Gig Harbor Tides boys basketball team (18-2, 11-2 South Sound Conference) climbed to fourth in the WIAA’s Class 3A RPI rankings this week on the strength of league wins over Capital and North Thurston.

The Tides now turn their attention to the Peninsula Seahawks to finish out the regular season on Thursday, Feb. 2.

The Seahawks (7-10, 5-8) are in desperate need of a win at Gig Harbor to play in the post-season. They recently dropped league games to Capital and Yelm, who are also competing for the conference’s fourth playoff spot. After a loss to Timberline, The Seahawks find themselves  in a win-or-go-home situation against the Tides.

Gig Harbor senior Luke Browne drives against Capital in a game earlier this year. Christi Adams

Tides clinch 2nd in league

Gig Harbor clinched the second seed from the conference with a 73-58 win over North Thurston on Tuesday, Jan. 31.

The Tides boast one of the top scoring tandems in the state in Luke Browne, who averages 19 points per game, and Will Landram, who averages 18 points per game.

Browne, who has scored over 30 points in a game 10 times in his high school career, scored 21 points to help rally the Tides to a 73-63 win at Capital on Friday, Jan. 27.

Gig Harbor was down nine in the fourth quarter before the Tides went on a 22-5 run with Browne repeatedly hitting clutch shots. Tides coach Billy Landram called him “the greatest shooter I have ever coached.”

The younger Landram also played well against Capital. His tip jam in the fourth ignited the rally. He narrowly missed a triple-double at River Ridge on Jan. 18 and led the Tides in scoring against North Thurston on Tuesday with 24 points.

The Tides also enjoy the suffocating defensive abilities of guards Christian Parrish and KeVaughn Harvey. Parrish is the reigning league defensive player of the year and Harvey is on pace to set a new school season record for steals.

Gig Harbor senior Will Landram dunks against Peninsula in a game earlier this year. Photo Carithers Bryce Carithers

The view from Purdy

Peninsula coach Sean Muilenburg has been impressed with the Tides.

“They have done a terrific job of getting that group to willingly sacrifice some of their individual offensive production,” Muilenburg said. “Luke and Will already are two of the top scorers in the league and state, they could produce Brooklyn Hicks (of Timberline) type numbers easily, if they were a single option. KeVaughn and Christian have the ability to pour in shots as well if you try to help off, they are constantly probing and breaking down the defense as well as any guards in the state.”

Junior Isaiah Brown leads Peninsula (7-10, 5-8) in scoring at nearly 19 points a game. He has been hampered by a injured wrist but has played through pain. Brown can really leap and is impressive in the open court. He scored 33 points in a game this year against Capital.

Peninsula’s Isaiah Brown attacks the basket during a game against North Thurston. Bryce Carithers

Muilenburg’s team likes to apply full-court pressure and play up-tempo basketball. He has his team on the cusp of the playoffs despite absorbing the loss of his son, Cole Muilenburg, for the season with a broken leg.

Undersized power forward Gabe Sarno leads the Seahawks in rebounding at eight per game. He can score as well, as he poured in 15 points and eight rebounds against Central Kitsap recently.

Fellow senior Cole Bashaw has shown the ability to lead the break, hit perimeter shots and play tenacious defense for the Seahawks. Senior Luke Benoit leads the team with four assists a game and provides inspired defense.

The “Fish Basket” game tips off at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 2, at Gig Harbor. The Gig Harbor and Peninsula girls play Friday, Feb. 3, in Purdy to decide the league championship.

Peninsula’s Gabe Sarno shoots during a game against Central Kitsap earlier this year. Bryce Carithers