After going ahead by 18 points with six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Ferndale’s girls’ basketball team fell apart.
Lynden went on a 17-2 run to pull within three points.
Then Linsey Honeycutt came along and crushed any hope the Lions had of completing the epic comeback, as Ferndale pulled away with a 47-40 Northwest Conference victory on Friday, Jan. 30, at Jake Maberry Gymnasium. The win marks a school-record 12th straight for Ferndale.
Never miss a local story.
With 30 seconds left, Honeycutt stole the ball — her fifth steal of the game — and dribbled the length of the court, laying the ball up and picking up a foul while she was at it.
Only 25.8 seconds remained on the clock and the Lions trailed by five. At that point Ferndale coach Mike Ivy knew it was over, he said after the game.
It was only one chapter of Honeycutt’s amazing night, in which her stat line resembled something more of an NBA star’s in a 48-minute game not a high school player in 32 minutes of action.
Honeycutt finished with 26 points, 12 rebounds, five blocks and three steals.
“That’s pretty amazing,” Ivy said. “She saw we were in a bit of trouble and as a four-year starter stepped up.”
Honeycutt has only missed three starts in her Ferndale career — two for illness and her first game in her freshman season. In that first game, she scored 24 points off the bench.
“I’m not real smart, but I’m smart enough to know that girl needs to be starting,” Ivy said.
Despite Honeycutt’s spectacular night, the Golden Eagles (17-1, 8-1 NWC) came very close to letting it slip away and Ivy said part of the problem was his tactics. When Ferndale was ahead 41-31 with three minutes remaining, Ivy told his players to let off the gas and control the clock.
Instead, the Golden Eagles got “stale.”
“If I had to do that over again, I would have waited about another two minutes,” Ivy said.
While Ferndale got conservative when Lynden (10-7, 6-3) pulled within 10, it was a challenge Lynden coach Rob Adams gave his players early in the fourth quarter that keyed the run in the first place.
Early in the fourth quarter, down by 18, Adams called a timeout. He told his players he was benching Elisa Kooiman and Kaitlyn Mark — Lynden’s top two scorers.
“The rest of them were going to have to figure it out without them,” Adams said. “I thought Elisa and Kaity had been playing really well and our supporting cast hadn’t played well. I think they took that as a challenge to kind of pick it up a little bit.”
Kooiman and Mark were only out for just more than a minute but the challenge had been met.
Unfortunately for the Lions, their inconsistency bit them again.
“We saw the same thing we’ve seen 17 times this year,” Adams said. “When we’re fundamentally correct and disciplined with the basketball and throw the ball to the correct color jersey we’re a fun team to watch. Unfortunately for us, that slope is pretty slippery. We’re not able to sustain.”
Adams said his team’s peaks and valleys are large and while his team can show flashes of brilliance, it’s their lack of seriousness on some possessions that has them on a three-game losing streak.
Those peaks and valleys were never more obvious than Friday night’s loss. The Lions started strong, pulling to an 11-5 lead, holding Honeycutt to just three points in the first quarter.
Then in the second and third quarters, Lynden allowed 32 points — 14 to Honeycutt.
“In the first couple minutes of the game we were a doing good job defensively of squaring the ball up and not getting beat off the bounce. Then for whatever reason, we decided it was working so well, they wanted to try something else,” Adams said. “When we defend correctly, we got stops. Our problem is we’re not consistent enough right now but we’ll get better.”
Despite a Monday, Feb. 2, contest against Bellingham looming, Adams has given his team the weekend off.
“It’s not an x’s and o’s thing. It’s an everybody needs to be on the same page thing,” Adams said. “Everybody’s got to have their oars in the water and you all got be rowing the same way otherwise it doesn‘t work.”
For Ferndale, the win Friday night sets up a matchup against Lynden Christian on Tuesday, Feb. 3, that will likely decide the NWC title. Whoever wins that game will have the lead going into the final game of the season.
“That’s going to be fun,” Ivy said. “I know they’ve watched us a lot. I’ve watched them a lot. ... I know our girls are ready.”
Ferndale 47, Lynden 40
Ferndale: Carly Bannerman 5, Shelby Slaughter 4, Abby Reid 5, Darrien Camarillo 1, Savanna Shawler 0, Dasia Washington 0, Kendyl Puhan 0, Gabrielle Edison 6, Linsey Honeycutt 26. Totals: 18-45 10-16 47.
Lynden: Mandy Warner 10, Lauren Zweirs 0, Jasmyne Neria 4, Mariah Gonzalez 1, Sierra Smith 0, Olivia Bonsen 0, Elisa Kooiman 16, Kaitlyn Mark 9, Emily Holt 0. Totals: 12-38 14-19 40.
3-point field goals — Ferndale: 1 (Reid); Lynden: 2 (Kooiman, Mark). Rebounds — Ferndale: 30 (Honeycutt 12); Lynden: 19 (Kooiman 8). Assists — Ferndale: 9 (Edison 3); Lynden: 6 (Warner, Neria 2). Fouls — Ferndale: 19; Lynden: 16 (Fouled out: Kooiman). Turnovers — Ferndale: 15; Lynden: 19.