When Gig Harbor needed a spark on Friday night against the visiting Olympia Bears, head coach Billy Landram looked to his bench. The Bears had outscored the Tides 20 to 6 in the second quarter, and outside of center Nick Edens, the Tides' offense went cold. Enter sophomore forward Sam Gagliardi, who hit back-to-back threes in the third quarter to give Gig Harbor a 38-31 lead, the spark the Tides needed en route to a 59-48 win.
“It was a huge,” Landram said. “He's a good young kid, he's tough, he had a couple of boards in the first half, and then those threes really helped give us some breathing room up to about 10 points. It was big.”
Gagliardi didn't hesitate to pull the trigger once he got in.
“I just look for my shot because I know my teammates will get me the ball in places to score,” Gagliardi said. “I just wanted to provide a spark off the bench.”
Edens, who finished with 26 points, was the only offense for the Tides in the second quarter. Gagliardi's threes were imperative to recapturing a balanced scoring attack.
“That was huge,” Edens said. “That was huge for the team, huge for him to get his confidence going, huge for us to get us six points there. Without that, we might have been in a dogfight. Six points are huge in a time like that, it gives us momentum and everything.”
Gagliardi finished with 10 points, but it was Edens who once again stole the show. The 6-foot-8 senior showed why he is this team's most dangerous scorer. He scored from inside, outside, from the line, stepping back, leaning in, left-handed, right-handed, with hooks, jump shots and more, as he's done all season long.
“He's a big guy that can go inside or out, which is tough to guard at the high school level,” Landram said.
With his team struggling to generate much offense in the second quarter, Edens took over.
“I knew that someone had to step up, so I said, 'Hey, why not me?'” Edens said. “I had some open shots and I hit them.”
The Tides looked like a different team in the second half, playing more spirited, tough-nosed basketball.
“We have a level of play that we're expecting from them,” Landram said. “I thought once we got an early lead, we kind of just didn't play to that level. We played to the level of the opponent where we were at. We took hard shots, weren't boxing out, just a lot of the little things that it takes to win at this level, we weren't doing consistently enough.”
Gagliardi said the team lacked energy. Lucky for the Tides, his three-point shooting gave them new life, and the Tides coasted from there.
Olympia was led by senior guard Khalil Matheney, who scored 22 points.
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.