Ferndale Girls Open New Gym With Big Win

Ferndale High School’s new gym may not be finished, but the Golden Eagles’ girls basketball team enjoyed inaugurating the new facility with a dominating 62-25 victory over Lakewood on Tuesday night, Dec. 6.

“We were pretty nervous at first,” said senior Ellie Ochoa of not only the first varsity game in the new gym but the team’s first game of the season. “But once we got going it was exciting.”

It didn’t take long for the Golden Eagles to get going. Against a Lakewood squad that had won each of its first two games by an average of 35 points, Ferndale unleashed a devastating defense that held the Cougars to seven first-half points.

That’s right: seven.

“They were so excited,” said Ferndale coach Terri Yost. “The first game. The new gym. New uniforms. They came out hyped up. We wanted to come out strong and we did that.”

Yost praised her four seniors — Ochoa, Ashley Lang, Cailyn Kessen, and Madisyn Butenschoen — for their leadership, which showed up on both offense and defense. 

Lang led a balanced attack with 13 points, Kessen had 10 points and three 3-pointers, and Butenschoen and Ochoa had 8 points each. Junior Mallory Butenschoen added 8 points with a pair of 3s as eight different Golden Eagles scored.

But it was the four seniors’ defense that turned the game into a 34-7 rout by halftime. Guards Ochoa and Lang used their speed and quick hands to make every Lakewood pass a potential turnover, and Madisyn Butenschoen and Kessen dominated the boards even though they only stand 5-foot-9 and 5-6, respectively.

“We feed off each other,” said Ochoa of the Golden Eagles’ swarming defense. “This really feels so good.”

Yost agreed with her senior guard. “Defense has always been one of our strong areas (at Ferndale),” she said. “We have 10 strong kids and all contributed.”

While the new basketball court and the two huge shiny scoreboards were impressive, there is still work to be done on Ferndale’s new facility.

The trophy cases are just boarded-up holes in the wall, the concession stand is just a rolling table, the shiny folding stands weren’t working hours before game time, and be prepared to walk through a construction site to get to the doors.

But none of that matters especially to the seniors.

“We just want to live in the moment,” said Lang. “This is our last season, and we want to treat every game like it is our first.”

It’ll be hard to top Tuesday’s real first game, but the Golden Eagles will get their chance when they host Squalicum on Thursday.  

Ferndale 62, Lakewood 25

Lakewood                 6         1       11         7—25

Ferndale                 20       14       12       16—62

Lakewood: Tocco 6, Hine, Riveira 4, Morales, Raymond, Barber 2, Jones 9, Agee 2, Powers 2. 

Ferndale: Kessen 10, Fox 6, Ochoa 8, Mad. Butenschoen 8, Lang 13, Mal. Butenschoen 8, Washington 5, Singson 4, White, Stanley.

Whatcom Hoops December-7-2022
The team and ball girl Saydee Ochoa stand in front of a “trophy case.”


Whatcom Hoops December-7-2022
Guess who’s behind the new “concession stand.”



Whatcom Hoops December-7-2022
The new 2022-23 Golden Eagles show off their new gym.



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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