If the season opener was any indication of how the season might go for the Gig Harbor High School girls basketball team, the Tides could be in for a special ride.
Gig Harbor beat the Olympic Trojans 43-41 on Saturday night in Bremerton when Sydney Bertholf beat the buzzer.
Down the stretch, Bertholf tipped a loose ball off a defender, and the referee awarded the ball to the Tides. The team was a bit flustered on the inbound pass.
“We were lined up in stack, but nobody seemed to know what we were doing,” Bertholf said. “So it was kind of open to the basket, so instinct kind of took over, and I just went for the basket. I got a bounce pass, and I just layed it up.”
The play cemented the win for the Tides (1-0), who lost their first seven games last season.
Gig Harbor returns sophomore McKenzie Alton, who scored 18 points in the opener. Alton, who said she tries to score at least five points every quarter to average 20 per game, said the team shares a strong bond despite their inexperience.
“I think we’re all really good girls,” Alton said. “We strive to be our best. We’re just great teammates. We support each other. I think we’re just going to have a strong team this year.”
Gig Harbor is looking to bounce back from a 9-13 record a season ago. Head coach Bob Boback is entering his 21st season, and he realizes there are more important things than wins and losses.
“I think it was the first time we’ve had a losing record since I’ve been here,” Boback said. “But, you know, it was one of the most fun years we’ve had since I’ve been here. It was a great bunch of girls.”
Boback’s lineup suffered a blow during the summer when junior Katy Larson tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee as she attempted a layup. Larson is working through physical therapy and hopes to return in time for next summer. Until that happens, she’s attending practices and lending moral support for her teammates.
Larson said she has high hopes for the team.
“I think we’re going to go really far this year,” she said. “Everyone is a solid basketball player, and we’re young, but we have a really strong team, and everyone works together really well.”
Boback said the team is dedicated to winning and improving every day.
“The basketball IQ is probably the best of any team I’ve had, even though they’re young,” he said. “They all work hard, and they love being here. We don’t have people that are playing in another sport right now or going to another practice. We have people that are basketball players.”
Alton said consistency is the key.
“We’re a young team, so we’re just trying to start hard and go strong, be consistent in our wins, and just be supportive and help each other out,” she said.