The dream season was bound to come to an end eventually, but the Ferndale boys basketball team was hoping it would last a little longer.
The Golden Eagles found themselves in a matchup with a team that could match their 3-point shooting and lost to Kennewick, 80-62, in the play-in round of the Class 3A state tournament on Tuesday, Feb. 22.
The loss ended an historic season for Ferndale. Although the Golden Eagles finished with an 11-12 record, they qualified for state for the first time in 26 years and only the fourth time in school history.
“The magical season ends for Ferndale,” said Golden Eagles coach Jason Owens. “It’s an amazing story, and they can hold their heads up high. The seniors left a legacy at Ferndale High School. They showed us what it takes (to get to state).”
Ferndale came into the game seeded 18th and had to play the game on the homecourt of the 15th-seeded Lions. From the beginning, it seemed the Golden Eagles were playing from behind.
They trailed by 10 in the first quarter, managed to tie it midway through the second quarter and were only down by four at halftime. But Kennewick hit two 3-pointers to start the third quarter and Ferndale couldn’t cut into the double-digit lead.
Kennewick shot 55 percent from beyond the arc, sinking seven 3-pointers in the first quarter, 10 in the first half, and 16 for the game. The taller Lions also outrebounded Ferndale, 36-20.
The Golden Eagles kept pace for a half with senior Mark Schlichting hitting four of the team’s nine 3s, but they only made two more in the game. Ferndale also shot only two free throws, while Kennewick shot 12, making 10.
Schlichting finished with five 3-pointers and a team-high 17 points, 6 rebounds and 4 blocked shots. Junior Damian Toney had 14 inside points and 5 rebounds, Luke Wells had 11 points and 4 assists, and fellow senior Jazen Guillory had 9 points and 10 assists. Junior Jewelz Terry came off the bench to add 8 points.
“I told them it wasn’t supposed to happen tonight,” said Owens. “They (the Lions) shot the lights out. There was nothing we could have done.”
While Kennewick (16-8) continues on to the regional round of state to take on No.10-seed Lake Washington (17-4) on Friday, the Golden Eagles will reflect on the season past.
Leaving behind its legacy is Ferndale’s senior class: Guillory, Schlicting, Wells, Ethan Lagerway, Xander Castleberry, and Nate Tsegaye.
And not to be forgotten are two former senior starters — Jesse Sapp, who had a season-ending injury before the playoffs, and Sean Morrison, whose struggle with a brain disease and his eventual successful surgery during the season inspired his teammates and community.
“They were a great group of young men,” said Owens speaking of the entire team. “You just wanted to be with them in the gym. They achieved well over their heads.”
Kennewick 80, Ferndale 62
Ferndale 15 22 14 11—62
Kennewick 25 16 25 14—80
Ferndale: Jewelz Terry 8, Lucas Mills, Xander Castleberry, Mark Schlichting 17, Conner Walcker 3, Jazen Guillory 9, Luke Wells 11, Damian Toney 14, Ethan Lagerway, Bishop Ootsey.
Kennewick: Daniel Dickinson 27, Tyler Mattioli-Butcher 5, David Wacenske 3, Charlie Tipke-Henry 7, Dierks Chavez, Jonah Gebers 17, Dane Chavez, Myles Mayovsky 3, Ayden Knapik 14, Jarome Frasier-Jones, Tanner Larson 2, Nathan Knapik 2.
CLASS 3A STATE PLAY-IN GAMES
Tuesday, Feb. 22
#13 Arlington 73, #20 Evergreen (Vancouver) 53 (winner to state regionals, loser out)
#16 Kelso 79, #17 Shorecrest 57 (winner to state regionals, loser out)
#15 Kennewick 80, #18 Ferndale 62 (winner to state regionals, loser out)
#14 Eastside Catholic 76, #19 Spanaway Lake 48 (winner to state regionals, loser out)
Friday, Feb. 25
#2 Auburn (23-1) vs. #7 Mount Spokane (20-5) at Puyallup HS, 6 p.m. (both to state tournament)
#10 Lake Washington (17-4) vs. Kennewick (16-8) at Bellevue CC, 6 p.m. (winner to state tournament, loser out)
#11 Mount Tahoma (17-5) vs. Eastside Catholic (18-9) at Foss HS, 8 p.m. (winner to state tournament, loser out)
Saturday, Feb. 26
#3 O’Dea (20-6) vs. #6 Gig Harbor (22-2) at Bellevue CC, 10 a.m. (both to state tournament)
#4 Rainier Beach (18-3) vs. #5 Seattle Prep (19-6) at Lake Washington HS, noon (both to state tournament)
#12 Ferris (16-5) vs. Arlington (18-5) at Central Valley HS, 4 p.m. (winner to state tournament, loser out)
#1 Garfield (21-0) vs. #8 Timberline (17-4) at Bellevue CC, 6 p.m. (both to state tournament)
#9 Mountlake Terrace (17-2) vs. Kelso (15-8) at Jackson HS, 6 p.m. (winner to state tournament, loser out)
At Tacoma Dome
Wednesday-Saturday, March 2-5
Jim Carberry is a former Bellingham Herald sports editor and author of several books on Whatcom County prep basketball. Follow him on Twitter @whatcomhoops and visit the Whatcom Hoops Facebook page.