The Gig Harbor Tides pulled away in the second half in a back-and-forth game against the visiting Yelm Tornados, winning 68-54. The Tides jumped out to a quick 9-0 lead, but then Yelm answered with a 22-2 run, feeding off the turnovers and energy from their foul court press, and shooting well from outside. The Tornados rode sophomore Christian Davis' 16 first half points and four three pointers to a 33-26 halftime lead.
“He's a bigger guy that can guard big guys but also step out on the perimeter and shoot threes,” Gig Harbor head coach Billy Landram said of Davis. “That's always tougher for a big guy to come out and guard him.”
Davis finished with 25 points in the game, but it was the Tides who came out swinging in the second half. A 20 point offensive effort in the third quarter give Gig Harbor a 46-41 lead headed into the final period. The Tides came out more aggressive in the third, playing smarter and more physical basketball.
“We got tougher,” said Tides' center Nick Edens. “The first half, we weren't mentally tough. They stepped up their pressure and we were just scared with the ball. We weren't tough, we weren't strong with the ball. In the second half, you could see a huge difference. We took care of the ball, we made smart passes, and we were just a lot smarter.”
Edens led the Tides with 23 points, showing the crowd why he's the pulse of this team. He scored in the post, rebounded, stepped out and shot threes, and was Landram's choice to shoot two technical free throws. His versatility makes him a valuable weapon in the Tides offense.
“He's a good player, we're glad to have him on our team,” Landram said. “The kids just have to keep recognizing when to get it to him. He does a good job passing out of the post. He's a big part of our team.”
Edens, who has always played in the post growing up, said his jump shot is the result of hours of hard work in the gym.
“Since I was a little kid, I was in the gym two hours every morning shooting and practicing,” Edens said. “I'd go to the YMCA and get shots every day. I'd shoot 500 shots a day when I was younger, that was my goal. I read that Michael Jordan would do that, and I wanted to be like him.”
Maybe he's not the next MJ, but Edens took over the game in Jordan-like fashion. The Tides fed him the ball throughout the game, exploiting the undersized Tornados.
“That was our main key going in,” Edens said. “Every game, we try to get it inside and go from there. Especially this game, they don't have a lot of height, we knew from the start that we could exploit that.”
While Landram would have liked to see his team remain a little more composed in the first half, he was pleased with the way they battled back.
“Our kids did a good job being resilient and coming back and playing a lot tougher,” he said.
Sports reporter Jon Manley can be reached at 253-358-4151 or by email at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter, @gateway_jon.