LYNDEN - Ferndale coach Mike Ivy has witnessed the repetitive saga play out game after game.
Opponents expend most of their first-half energy trying to catch the fast-paced Golden Eagles, while opponents spend the second half trying to catch their breath.
"We come out in the second half, and I think the biggest thing is that we wear people down," Ivy said. "When you go 10 deep and most people go seven or eight deep, pretty soon you see those steals, and you see the girls on the other team with their hands on their hips."
Ivy sent in one sub after another, and each player off the bench brought seemingly an endless amount of energy. In the end, Ferndale's athleticism, tenacious defense and depth proved too much for Lynden to handle.
The Golden Eagles held Lions to single-digit scoring each quarter and doubled-up Lynden in the second half to earn a 49-27 Northwest Conference win Tuesday, Jan. 29, at Lynden High School.
The win also sewed up a NWC championship with one game to go in the regular season.
"We won league champs from this game, so we are really excited, and it was on their home court, so it makes it that much better," said senior guard Koral Weidkamp, who scored a game-high 12 points and recorded three steals.
Though Lynden's struggles against Ferndale's half-court trap forced 26 Lions turnovers and prevented Lynden from getting many strong looks, Ivy believed one of the differences in the game was Weidkamp's play.
Ivy made the decision before the season to start Weidkamp in favor of two-year starter Taylor Knutson, because he felt the move would benefit the team. He also said Knutson is better suited coming off the bench and is invaluable in that role.
"I think the story of the game is that this is the third time Koral has led us in scoring," Ivy said.
Weidkamp scored 10 or her 12 points in the first half to pace Ferndale's well-balanced scoring attack. Frontline NWC scoring talent Linsey Honeycutt added 11 points and a game-high 10 rebounds, and Taylor Reid had seven points to go with her team-high three assists and four steals.
Lynden, which shot 25 percent from the field, was led by Maddi Hommes' team-high seven points and eight boards. Kaitlyn Mark scored six points, Ashlyn Morgan added five, and NWC top 10 scorer Stephanie Somers was limited to four points.
"We do a spotlight thing after the game, and it was really easy to spotlight her," Lynden coach Rob Adams said of Hommes. "That by far was her best varsity game as a varsity basketball player."
Perhaps Weidkamp made an exaggeration when she said Ferndale works on its half-court trap "the whole entire time" at practice, but whether the Golden Eagles drill offense or not, they looked like a fine-tuned team on the defensive end.
Reid and Honeycutt recorded four steals, Weidkamp had three, Kelli Bannerman had two in limited minutes and Taryn Knutson and Brooke Benson each had a steal.
After giving up 15 first-half points, Ferndale allowed three field goals in the second half. It used its suffocating pressure to frequently turn defense into offense.
Though the final score was lopsided, Lynden hung with Ferndale most of the first half.
Mark's bucket with 3 minutes, 5 seconds left in the second quarter cut Ferndale's lead to 12-11, but the Golden Eagles followed the score with a flurry of points to end the half on an 11-4 run.
Weidkamp peeled off a Reid screen at the top of the 3-point arc and buried a 3 as the final seconds ticked away to put Ferndale ahead 23-15 at the break.
Lynden scored its first basket 4:35 into the third quarter. By that time, Ferndale had built a 30-17 edge.
Honeycutt, Weidkamp, Hannah Carlson and Taylor scored field goals in the final minutes to push Ferndale's lead to 38-20 heading into the fourth.
"We were prepared for their half-court trap," Adams said. "At the end of the day, we struggled to make plays. A lot of it was the athleticism and the intensity Ferndale played with. We told our girls going in we need to play 32 minutes of consistent basketball to have a chance, and we didn't do that."
Reach Andrew Lang at email@example.com or call 360-756-2862.
FERNDALE 49, LYNDEN 27
Ferndale 10 13 15 11 - 49
Lynden 7 8 5 7 - 27
Ferndale: Kendra Bodger 4, Koral Weidkamp 12, Taylor Knutson 5, Kelli Bannerman 0, Taylor Reid 7, Kodie Euper 0, Taryn Knutson 2, Hannah Carlson 2, Brooke Benson 5, Linsey Honeycutt 11. Team totals: 19-45 6-13 49.
Lynden: Mandy Warner 0, Taylor VanDalen 0, Maddi Hommes 7, Ashlyn Morgan 5, Kelsey Bouwman 3, Tanna Benson 2, Kaitlyn Mark 6, Stephanie Somers 4. Team totals: 9-36 9-12 27. 3-ptg: Ferndale 2 (Weidkamp/Benson 1), Lynden 0. Rebounds: Ferndale 24 (Honeycutt 10), Lynden 28 (Hommes 8). Assists: Ferndale 9 (Reid 3), Lynden 3 (three with 1). Fouls: Ferndale 15, Lynden 14. Turnovers: Ferndale 20, Lynden 26.
Reach ANDREW LANG at firstname.lastname@example.org or call ext. 862.