Sports Beat | Gig Harbor pulls away in fourth to win Fish Basket
The Gig Harbor Tides (20-4, 11-3 South Sound Conference) boys basketball team went in to the Peninsula gym and won their ninth straight game over their crosstown rivals, 58-35 on Feb. 1.
The Tides and Seahawks (4-18, 2-12) were amped to play each other and the gym was full of spectators ready to watch some exciting hoops. Instead they watched the referees control the game as both teams exchanged free throw attempts in a decelerated first half that saw more whistles blown than jump shots taken.
Parrish sparks Tides
The first quarter ended in a 9-9 tie. The Tides got loose in the second quarter behind senior Logan Parrish’s three point bucket, followed by a steal and running bank shot, to stretch the Tide lead to 22-17 with three minutes remaining in the half. Parrish finished with nine points in his final Fish Basket game.
The pace of play improved slightly in the second half. The Tides stretched the lead to 39-29 at the end of the third quarter behind five free throws from Cole Browne, who continually attacked the basket. Browne had 13 points and several well-placed passes to Gig Harbor big guys Michael Masini and Luke Allison.
Masini finished with 16 points and 14 rebounds while Allison chipped in eight points and played physical defense.
Tides take control
Peninsula was still within striking distance to open the fourth quarter. But the Tides pulled away by out scoring the Seahawks 19-6 in the fourth quarter behind a swarming defense and seven points from guard J.T. Grande.
The loss ends the season for Peninsula and the six Seahawks seniors who deserve credit for how hard they played in every game this season. Despite experiencing injuries to several key players, the Seahawks continued to battle and earned the respect of their rivals.
“They fight hard, they didn’t let us get away easy,” Masini said of Peninsula. “They made it tough.”
Gig Harbor coach Billy Landram was also complimentary of the Seahawks’ style.
“We have a lot of respect for them and what Sean (Muilenburg, Peninsula’s coach, is) doing over here, they played super hard and competed the whole night,” Landram said.
The Seahawks’ departing seniors are Luke Lipsey, Will Whiteley-Ross, Cole Muilenburg, Gavin Sheets, Reece Redal and Joaquin Jackson.
The Tides move on to the playoffs beginning Feb. 10.
Seahawks girls win low-scoring game over rival Tides
The Gig Harbor (12-8, 9-5) girls basketball team gave Peninsula (11-7, 9-5) all the Seahawks could handle before losing, 36-33, on Feb. 1 despite the injury absence of leading scorer Taylor Schwab.
Grace Richardson was the star for the Seahawks. She scored 19 points on a series of athletic drives to the hoop and collected 10 steals to dampen an inspired effort by the Tides.
Gig Harbor raced out to an early lead in the first quarter behind Schwab’s replacement, Ashlyn Peirce, who had a couple of nice baskets and pinpoint passes for scores. Gig Harbor led 13-6 heading into the second quarter.
If Peninsula thought the game may be easier without Schwab, their coach Hannah Lekson definitely cleared things up with an inspiring message in the huddle after the first quarter. The Seahawks responded by outscoring the Tides 14-10 behind a couple threes from Maci Miller and Kaylia Heidelberg and amplified defensive pressure. Gig Harbor’s lead was just 23-20 at halftime.
The Seahawks extended their defense in the third quarter, when they only allowed the Tides to score two points. The Tides defense was stingy as well, as they didn’t allow many second shots with Willow Bonnici grabbing several of her game-high 12 rebounds.
Kaliyah Miller, who led the Tides with nine points, hit a tough runner to pull the game tighter in the fourth quarter. Alex Ferrier, who had eight points, buried a jumper to keep the Tides close. But Richardson’s defense was the difference as she collected her eighth and ninth steals to limit the Tides’ shot attempts.
The Seahawks absorbed a quiet night from leading scorer Heidelberg, who came into the game averaging 19.2 points per game but found little space to shoot. Heidelberg instead looked to pass to open teammates and led her team with six rebounds.
Gig Harbor had a chance to tie after rebounding a missed Peninsula free throw with 1.8 seconds left and the score 36-33. But Richardson intercepted the ensuing inbounds pass, then rolled the ball to the referee and walked away after the final buzzer sounded.
The teams finished the regular season tied for third in the South Sound Conference. That means the two teams will play for a third time this season at 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 3, at Gig Harbor to decide who gets the third seed to the postseason from the league. Both teams advance to the postseason; Saturday’s game merely determines seeding.
Schwab was walking around at the game and may be a game-time decision for Tide coach Tim Olson on Saturday.
Gig Harbor wins league swimming and diving title
Gig Harbor (9-2, 6-0) turned on the jets to win the South Sound Conference boys swimming and diving championships on Jan. 27 at The Evergreen State College’s pool in Olympia.
The Tides scored 592 points in the championship to win coach Mike Kelly’s ninth SSC title in 10 years.
Peninsula (8-1, 6-1) placed second with 443 points in Athena Petterson’s first season as head coach. Both teams qualified multiple competitors to the district meet.
The Peninsula 200 medley relay team of Jonah Bergerson, Tyler Givot, Ethan Berard and Aidan Miller won in a blistering time of 143.84, beating second-place Gig Harbor by three seconds.
The Tides’ Travis Scott won four league titles, starting by prevailing in the 200 freestyle in 1:50.91.
Gig Harbor senior Grant Huston also won four titles, including the 200 intermediate medley, which he won by 16 seconds over Givot.
Gig Harbor senior Wriley Savage won the diving event by scoring 333.25 to edge out sophomore teammate James Ferrier, second with 310.0 points.
Tides senior Emmett Scott won the 100-yard freestyle, rallying from being 0.25 seconds behind at the turn to win by .40 seconds.
Sophomore Travis Scott won his second title in the 500 freestyle, tearing up the water to win by 16 seconds. Teammates Davis and senior Gannon Erickson finished second and third in the race.
With all those fast freestylers in the pool for the Tides, the 200 freestyle relay was a foregone conclusion. The team of the Scott brothers, Huston and sophomore Jace Garre won in 1:31.9, seven seconds faster than a team from Capital.
When it comes to the backstroke nobody in town is faster than Peninsula’s Bergerson who glides through the water as he kicks and stretches for water to pull against. He won the 10th event and league title in 55.35 over Tide freshman Michael Yevstifieieva, who finished in 1:01.30.
Huston won the 100-yard breaststroke in 59.33. Then he joined with Garre and the Scott boys to win the 400 freestyle relay 3:20.43 over the Seahawks second place squad of Bergerson, Miller, Givot and Dylan Bassler.
Both teams move on to the WCD III 3A, district championships as the top five athletes/relay teams from each event at districts will qualify for the state championships.
“This was perhaps the most dominating team victory in the SSC Championship history,” Tide coach Mike Kelly said. “To win this meet is a big deal, but moving forward the challenges only get more magnified, as does the quality of our opponents.”
Wrestling postseason begins
Local boys wrestlers compete in sub-regionals at Capital High School in Olympia on Saturday, Feb. 1. Weigh-ins begin at 7:30 a.m. and the doors open at 9 a.m. Regional are the following week, and Mat Classic is Feb. 16 and 17 at the Tacoma Dome.
The girls wrestling regional meet is next week and will feature a Seahawk team that has received national recognition for placing in the top five of a prestigious meet earlier in the season. Seahawks standouts Georgina Johnson, Bailey Parker, Lindsey Shipp and Olivia Griffen will be joined at regionals by Tide standout Eleanor Nimrick who has compiled a dominating 32-3 record so far.
Bowling season over
The Gig Harbor girls bowling team (8-6, 7-6) finished fourth in the South Sound Conference. Lillan Amrine’s Tide team showed steady improvement over last year while Kristy Whitcher’s Peninsula team at Peninsula finished sixth at 4-9 but has some young talent that Whitcher is developing for the future.
Gig Harbor qualified for districts, where the top five teams advance to state, but the Tides’ season ended Jan. 27 at Paradise Lanes in Tacoma after they finished seventh. The top individual bowler for Gig Harbor was sophomore Kim Bornt, who bowled a 130/181/186 for a total of 497, good for 11th place. The top Peninsula bowler was junior Ashley Richards who finished 20th with a 127/179/160 for a 466 total.