The Gig Harbor Tides jumped out to an early lead, then succumbed to full-court pressure.
In the end, center Nick Edens helped the Tides pull away for a 68-54 victory in a back-and-forth Class 4A Narrows League game against the visiting Yelm Tornados.
Edens led the Tides with 23 points and showed why he’s the pulse of this team. He scored in the post, rebounded, stepped out and shot 3-pointers, and he was head coach Billy Landram’s choice to shoot two technical free throws.
“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.”
Yelm answered Gig Harbor’s quick 9-0 lead with a 22-2 run, feeding off turnovers and energy from their full-court press and shooting well from outside.
The Tornados rode sophomore Christian Davis’ 16 first-half points and four 3s 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,” Landram said of Davis. “That’s always tougher for a big guy to come out and guard him.”
Davis finished with 25 points, 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 as the teams went into the final period.
The Tides came out more aggressive in the third, and they played smarter and more physical basketball.
“We got tougher,” Edens said. “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,” he said. “We took care of the ball, we made smart passes, and we were just a lot smarter.”
Edens, who has always played in the post as he’s grown older, said his jump shot is the result of hours of work in the gym.
“Since I was a little kid, I was in the gym two hours every morning, shooting and practicing,” he 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.”
Edens took over the game in Jordan-like fashion. The Tides fed him the ball throughout the game and exploited 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.