TACOMA - In the hallway directly behind Mount Tahoma's basketball court, Ferndale's Taryn Knutson didn't fight her emotions.
She, along with the rest of the Golden Eagles' basketball team, had fought hard and long enough against Wilson, but unfortunately effort doesn't always lead to victory.
Ferndale lost to Wilson 59-54 on Saturday, March 1, at Mount Tahoma High School in Tacoma, ending its season one game shy of making it into the eight-team field at the 2014 Class 3A Hardwood Classic.
"It's disappointing because nobody really expected us to come this far anyways, so that's why it's amazing that we've fought our way up here," Knutson said. "But it's hard because the game was so close - so back and forth - and right within our reach.
"The way that the team fought so hard, if one basket difference, if we would have had 30 seconds more, it could have been our game."
Knutson, a senior, did her part, leading the team with 18 points and eight steals, putting together a big third quarter that helped Ferndale pull even heading into the fourth.
Still, Wilson's size and speed, which sparked a key run to start the fourth quarter, all but doomed a Ferndale team that was running on fumes.
The Golden Eagles, after trailing at halftime 30-25, outscored Wilson 13-8 in the third - eight of which were Knutson getting transition baskets - to tie the game at 38-all entering the fourth.
The surge in offense, and the stout play on defense, Ferndale coach Mike Ivy said, wasn't anything in particular they changed at halftime.
"I think it was just all the same stuff. We just did it better," Ivy said. "I thought we missed some easy shots, and I knew there was going to be some holes in that 2-1-2 defense."
The Rams opened the fourth on a 10-0 run, getting two consecutive putback layups off offensive rebounds by Violet Morrow and Kiara Knox. Senior Hannah Carlson finally stopped the bleeding with a floater to bring the score to 48-40 midway through the fourth.
Knutson followed that up with a pair of free throws after a Wilson turnover, but a steal by freshman point guard Josie Matz, who led Wilson with 18 points, sparked a fastbreak layup for the Rams.
"They were running more than I saw them on tape," Ivy said. "They got some easy hoops. They probably got 10 points off easy hoops that we don't normally give up. We're used to being the ones getting those. It's just not getting back."
After the two teams traded baskets, Carlson recovered an offensive rebound off a missed 3-pointer by Abby Reid and put it back up for a lay in, bringing the score to 53-49 Rams. Matz hit a pair of free throws on the other end, and Brooke Benson answered with one of her three 3's in the game.
Time, though, simply ran out.
"I think we freaked ourselves out a bit," Knutson said. "We kind of forget what was working for us, and we just let them do what they wanted to do. They started getting rebounds. We stopped blocking out. I'm guessing we just got a little tired, but we really stepped up."
Carlson finished with 12 points, a team-high 10 rebounds and six assists. She put together a strong second that largely kept Ferndale in it at the break, picking up the slack after standout post Linsey Honeycutt had to leave the game early with foul trouble.
"You knew that was going to happen, that (Carlson) was going to try to take over," Ivy said. "I thought she got some really nice drives to the hole, and to her credit it just wasn't enough."
Benson finished her career with nine points, three rebounds, two assists and a steal. Honeycutt, who was the team's leading scorer averaging 16.7 points per game, finished with seven points and six rebounds, never quite finding the rhythm of the game, Ivy said, because of the three early fouls.
Reach Alex Bigelow at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 360-715-2238. Follow @bhamsports on Twitter for other Whatcom County sports updates.
WILSON 59, FERNDALE 54
Ferndale 11 14 13 16 - 54
Wilson 15 15 10 21 - 59
Ferndale: Carly Bannerman 0, Shelby Slaughter 0, Abby Reid 2, Darien Camarillo 2, Dasia Washington 0, Taryn Knutson 18, Hannah Carlson 12, Brooke Benson 11, Kendyl Puhan 0, Linsey Honeycutt 7, Gabby Edison 2. Team totals: 20-61 11-16 54.
Wilson: Paige Colstello 0, Rache Dixon 3, Aujanique Doss 1, Tyra Foster 8, Kiara Knox 15, Josie Matz 18, Kiara McMillan 0, Violet Morrow 15. Team totals: 21-62 16-21 59.
3-ptg: Ferndale 3 (Benson 3), Wilson 2 (Matz 1). Rebounds: Ferndale 26 (Carlson 10), Wilson 34 (Foster 11). Assists: Ferndale 11 (Carlson 6), Wilson 3 (Matz 2). Fouls: Ferndale 15 (Benson fouled out), Wilson 16 (NA). Turnovers: Ferndale 19, Wilson 22.