The Gig Harbor Tides found themselves down by three points early in Saturday’s crosstown rivalry contest against the Peninsula Seahawks.
Gig Harbor coach Bob Boback went to a full-court press, and the Tides never looked back.
Freshman Izzy Turk scored 15 points and sophomore captain McKenzie Alton added 14 as Gig Harbor cruised to a 61-31 non-league victory.
It wasn’t easy in the first quarter as Peninsula took a 9-6 lead.
But Boback, who said his team hasn’t been executing its half-court offense well, wanted them to loosen up with the press.
“I just wanted to try to get us playing hard,” Boback said. “I figured we could get some turnovers and get some transition baskets. We’ve been playing kind of tight, so when we press, it kind of makes them just play and not think. We really started getting some momentum.”
Gig Harbor led 27-17 at halftime and never looked back.
Turk said the team has gotten off to a few slow starts this year, and she wanted to push the tempo.
“It always helps us to press and kind of get our intensity up,” Turk said. “We just wanted to keep it up, no matter how tired we get. We have subs, so just keep the intensity up and work hard.”
Peninsula head coach Steve Jacobson said the Seahawks didn’t do a good job of executing against the pressure defense.
“We didn’t each do our little part of the puzzle,” he said. “When we don’t do that, we allow the defense to get into advantageous positions, and that caused us to pass the ball backwards instead of forwards against the pressure. Every time we go backwards, it allows them to reset the press. Every time we go forwards, it causes them to chase, and we get the break.”
Seahawks senior center Rilee Zilkey also said the team struggled.
“We got down on ourselves, and we just didn’t execute how we’re supposed to,” she said. “We have so many great options in our press breaks, we just kind of fell apart and couldn’t see the whole court. Next game, we just need to execute.”
Jacobson added his team didn’t rebound well, and he was concerned about their composure once they fell behind.
“I understand that it’s our heated rivals and they want to put on a good showing, but we can’t get discouraged,” Jacobson said. “We have to just keep playing. We have a lot of kids that are getting their feet wet with varsity, so they need to understand that we need to keep going.”
While players often claim no game is bigger than any other, rivalry games are different. Turk said the Tides, who lost an overtime time to the Seahawks by two last year, will enjoy the win.
“It means everything,” Turk said. “We’ve worked so hard and, as a team, just bonded and grouped together. It’s been quite the ride. We’ve had some tough losses lately, and just to have a breakthrough win like this is huge for our team.”Sports reporter Jon Manley can be reached at 253-358-4151 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter, @gateway_jon.