Community Sports

Sports Beat | Peninsula girls one win from state

Posted on February 15th, 2024 By:

Correction: Peninsula girls basketball team plays Timberline for a state tournament berth at 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 16, at Mount Tahoma High. That information was misstated when this story was originally published.

The Peninsula (14-8, 9-6 in South Sound Conference) girls basketball team is moving on in the West Central 3/4 District tournament after their 42-32 victory over Mountain View of Vancouver on Tuesday, Feb. 13, in Purdy.

Peninsula junior Grace Richardson narrowly missed a triple-double with 11 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists.

Teammate Kaylia Heidelberg contributed 20 points and five rebounds and center Irene Segura provided a couple blocked shots to go with 10 rebounds and four points.

The Seahawks took control of this game early, jumping out to a 15-5 lead and increasing it to  24-9 at halftime.

Four 3-pointers for Heidelberg

Heidelberg’s high arching, three point shots splashed the nets four times versus Mountain View as the senior led her team down the stretch and showed off the prettiest jump shot in Gig Harbor in the process.

Heidelberg began playing the sport in first grade and learned the fundamentals of shooting from her father,  Torrey.

“From the second I touched the basketball my Dad told me he knew I was something special,” Heidelberg said. “I noticed that I had a pretty solid jumper even at a young age and as I got older we would go to the gym and shoot 500 shots a day, so many free throws. I would lay in my bed at night and practice my form.”

Heidelberg has perfect technique but a great shooter needs mental strength as well.

“As a shooter, you have to have the mentality of the ‘next one.’ After you miss a shot, it’s OK,” Heidelberg said. “Keep shooting, you will get the next shot.”

Kaylia Heidelberg of Peninsula High School. Photo by Bryce Carithers

Three-time all-league

That hard work paid off for Heidelberg, a first-team all-South Sound Conference selection three straight years. She led her team to a conference title and a state tournament appearance last year but fell just one game shy of reaching the Tacoma Dome.

“Going to state and getting the opportunity to play in the Dome would be amazing and is the goal,” Heidelberg said. “Last year my team fell short by five points from getting to play there. Going to the dome my senior year would be the best way to go out, especially with my team and my coaches by my side.”

College coaches are in agreement as they are lining up to acquire her services next season.

“My goal is to play college basketball. However, the where is still undecided,” Heidelberg said. “I want to go to school that will support my athletic career, but also my desire to become a doctor or surgeon. I want to be somewhere that isn’t too far away from home, but also at a place where I can be independent and grow as a person.”

Up next

The win over Mountain View puts Heidelberg and Peninsula a step closer to their goals. The Seahawks must win one of their next two district games to advance to the state tournament.

They play conference foe Timberline at 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 16, at Mount Tahoma in a winner-to-state game. The loser of that contest will be back at Mount Tahoma at 4:15 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 17, to play the loser of a game between Lincoln and Kelso, again with a state tournament berth on the line.

GH boys play for state berth

The Gig Harbor (21-5, 11-3) boys basketball team also advanced in West Central District 3/4 play, winning a loser-out game at home over Evergreen of Vancouver, 64-62, on Feb. 14.

Evergreen featured guard Dez Daniel, who was coming off a 41-point effort in his last playoff game; and an All-American football player in the 6-foot-6, 295-pound Fox Crader, who has signed a letter of intent to play at the University of Oregon next year.

Tides guard Cole Browne played 31 of a possible 32 minutes before fouling out with a minute to go and frustrated Daniel all night. The tandem of Michael Masini and Luke Allison muscled up and kept Crader boxed out and off the boards to help the Tides earn their 21st victory of the season.

Both teams were fast out of the gate, with Tides sophomore Ty Buchanan burying a three pointer from the top of the key and senior Drake Matthies scoring on an athletic move to the hoop. But Evergreen flashed some serious athleticism and jumped out to a 12-5 lead by attacking the Tides with quick passes to the middle and mid-range  jump shots.

Cole Browne of Gig Harbor. Photo by Bryce Carithers

Tides rally

After a time out to regroup, Gig Harbor completed a scoring run that saw seven different players score in a row.

Allison’s three-point play inside got the score to 12-8 before Browne scored on a driving baseline bucket. Masini chipped in a smooth 15-footer and the Tide defense stiffened.

With five seconds remaining in the first quarter, the Tides had the play of the night when they inbounded up the sideline and Allison tried a spinning three pointer that air balled. But the Tides’ hustling senior, Logan Parrish, collected the shot in the air and flicked in a nifty reverse lay in at the buzzer.

The Plainsmen played well in the quarter but had only a 16-15 lead to show for it as their coach gave them an earful during the break after Parrish’s hustle play.

Tides sophomore Quentin Bockhorn opened the second quarter with a deep three with 6:45 to go to give the Tides the lead and complete the run of seven different Tides to score in a row.

GH up 1 at half

Evergreen answered with five points in a row before Browne’s corner three knotted the score at 21. When Evergreen extended its perimeter defense, the Tides went back down to the block. Allison delivered a bucket through contact and then Masini barreled to the hoop for a bucket and the foul.

The Gig Harbor student section chanted “you’re too little” to the hulking Crader, who steamed as Masini shot his free throw and the Tides took a 30-29 lead into intermission.

Browne opened up the second half by stripping Daniel in the open court and racing to the hoop for a score while the Plainsmen coach yelled “foul.”A few plays later, the referee had heard enough and called a technical foul on the coach. Browne sunk the technical free throws to give the Tides their largest lead of the night at 36-29.

Michael Masini of Gig Harbor. Photo by Bryce Carithers

Fourth quarter

The fourth quarter was back and forth before Bockhorn splashed another three to give the Tides the lead. Meanwhile Allison, Masini and Browne all had multiple rebounds in traffic to limit the Plainsmens’ shots.

Matthies drained four straight free throws in the clutch to give the Tides a comfortable eight-point lead with 55 seconds to go. Did I say comfortable? Evergreen still didn’t quit as they hit a bucket and buried  a three at the buzzer to bring the final score to 64-62 as the home crowd finally relaxed.

Four Tides scored in double figures: Browne and Masini had 12 each, while Allison and Buchanan contributed 11 apiece. They also gained some valuable experience in a loser out game that should help them down the road.

Gig Harbor advanced to face Timberline at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 16, at Mount Tahoma High School. The winner advances to the Class 3A state tournament.

The Tides split two games with Timberline during the regular season, with neither team winning by more than two points.

The loser of Friday’s game will play at 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 17, at Mount Tahoma for the district’s final bid to state.

GH girls eliminated

The Timberline Blazers eliminated the Gig Harbor (13-10, 9-5) girls team with a 54-43 win on Feb. 13 in the West Central District 3/4 tournament.

Gig Harbor — led by seniors Taylor Schwab and Alex Ferrier and rebounding machine Willow Bonnici — jumped out early leads of 6-0 and 14-6.

But the wheels fell off in the second quarter, when Bonnici went to the bench with two fouls and Schwab went cold. Timberline outscored Gig Harbor 20-1 to take a 29-15 lead into halftime.

The Tides battled back but never got closer than nine points in the second half. Schwab, playing on a sprained knee ligament, was not her normal self. Anyone that saw the 1,000 point career scorer when she’s healthy could see a noticeable difference in her game as she missed several shots that she usually makes.

Bonnici kept the Tides close. She stuffed the stat sheet with 22 points and 15 rebounds to lead the Tides in both categories while completing an exceptional freshman year.

State swimming is this week

Both local swimming and diving teams will send individual and team representatives to the WIAA boys state swimming and diving championships at the King County Aquatic Center Feb. 15 through 17.

The diving portion of the meet began Thursday, Feb. 15, with the Tides’ Wriley Savage qualifying in fourth position. But teammate James “Max” Ferrier, who qualified sixth, stunned the field by finishing in second place.

Savage had a good showing with a sixth-place finish and teammate Johnny Caplinger finished 12th.

Other local favorites include Gig Harbor’s Grant Huston, who qualified in the first position in both the 100 and 200 meter freestyle swims. He qualified just 0.15 seconds faster than a competitor from Bellevue in the 100 freestyle and just 0.08 of a second faster than a competitor from Snohomish in the 200 freestyle. Qualifying first ensures Huston a middle lane in quieter waters for the 3A finals.

Peninsula’s 200 yard intermediate medley relay team qualified in 14th position in a time of 1:41.92. The Seahawks are hoping for a top-eight finish and would only need to shave a second and a half off their time to accomplish their goal.

The Tides were listed as the third qualifier in the 400 freestyle relay with a time of 3:14.48 while Peninsulas qualified 17th.

Seahawks junior Jonah Bergerson qualified eighth in the 100 backstroke with a time of 53.43. Bergerson is known for his take offs and kick and will be hunting for a top five finish or better at the state championships.