Big Fourth Quarter Gives Ferndale Girls Big Win Over Meridian

After three quarters of battling to a defensive stalemate, the Ferndale girls basketball team finally got its offense going in the final period to break away for a 44-32 victory over Meridian on Monday night, Dec. 11.

“We started really slow, but the second half, they all came together and took care of business,” said Ferndale coach Terri Yost, whose team raised its Northwest Conference record to 3-0 and 4-1 overall.

A big reason why the Golden Eagles started slow was because the visiting Trojans grounded them with intense man-to-man defense that rarely gave the Ferndale shooters an open look.

After starting the game behind 2-0 — Ferndale’s Maleah Singson sank both free throws after Meridian was given a technical for a scorekeeping error  — the Trojans used runs of 8-0 run and 8-1 to take a 19-16 lead at the half. 

Going into the fourth quarter, Meridian still held a one-point lead and Ferndale had only managed 28 points. But then the Golden Eagles’ offense stopped sputtering and started to take off.

Sophomore point guard Kayla Washington turned a steal into a floater less than a minute into the period. Fellow sophomore Jillea Fox scored inside and Washington scored on a drive. Senior Naomi Stanley followed with a 3-pointer, Singson hit a bucket, and when Fox got inside for another basket, Ferndale had finished off a 13-0 run and finished off the Trojans.

Meridian managed three points in the final minute but it was too little, too late as the Trojans fell to 0-3 in the NWC and 1-3 overall.

“We came out clicking to start,” said Meridian coach Bree Joy. “But we got away from our fundamentals. We played hard. But we’re young and we have to learn to battle back from adversity.”

Ferndale also is young with only three seniors and it was sophomores Washington and Fox who sparked the Golden Eagles in the second half.

Washington finished with a game-high 12 points, half of them in the fourth period, despite being hounded by Meridian’s Brooklyn Fuller all night, and Fox had 11 points and was a rebounding force inside. Singson added 9 points for Ferndale.

 “My role is to bring energy,” said Fox, who had nine points after halftime. “I want to help get us going on offense and defense.”

And while Ferndale’s offensive explosion in the fourth quarter proved to be the margin of victory, Yost was quick to point out that the Golden Eagles’ team defense held Meridian scoreless for the first seven minutes of the period.

“Our defense got us back in the game,” she said. 

Meridian was led by senior Allie Richter, who had three 3-pointers for 9 points. Sophomore Kinsley Neal had 7 points, but no other Trojan had more than five points. 

“We played really well as a team in the first half,” said Richter, who missed all of last season with a torn ACL. “We just weren’t able to get our offense going (in the fourth quarter) and it went downhill.”

Richter pointed out that with only four Trojans having varsity experience and five of the nine girls being either sophomores or freshmen, Meridian was looking forward to the future.

“We’re getting there,” Richter said. Her coach agreed.

“Like we said at the beginning, wait until the second half of the season,” said Joy.

Ferndale is back in action on Tuesday when the Golden Eagles host Lake Stevens in a non-league game. Meridian returns home on Friday to play Lynden.

NOTES: The Northwest Conference is honoring its officials this week for their hard work and commitment to high school athletics. Before Monday’s game, Ferndale seniors Maleah Singson, Mallory Butenschoen, and Naomi Stanley presented the three officials with certificates of appreciation.

Ferndale 44, Meridian 32

Meridian          8       11       10        3—32

Ferndale           7        9       12       16—44

Meridian: Fuller 4, McCauley 5, Koning, Bernardy, Neal 7, Storgaard 1, Swanson 5, Richter 9, Benson 1.

Ferndale: Fox 11, Washington 12, Lee, Butenschoen 4, Singson 9, White 4, Stanley 5.

Jim Carberry of Whatcom Hoops

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.

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