The JV girls are now South Fork’s only basketball team with a winning league record (2-1) after beating Ferndale on Friday night 35-34 in Ferndale. Sophomore Kylee Teasley paced the offense with a season- and game-high 19 points while sophomore Lily Farrell sparked the defense causing critical Wildcat turnovers in South Fork’s impressive come-from-behind victory.
Ferndale’s defense rattled us in the first half," said head coach Taylor Morrow. "They swarmed the ball and we were just chucking it, playing by echo-location," he joked. "They did a good job against our press and we were 0 for 11 from the free throw line."
Down by 9 at the half, the locker room discussion was calm and focused. "I didn’t need to yell at them for them to see what we needed to do." The team was instructed to relax, to share the ball more, and to fine tune the defense to create more turnovers. And that’s what they did.
"Lily did a much better job forcing the ball at the top of the defense and we started to get tips and steals and fast breaks," said Morrow.
Teasley’s shooting came alive as she scored 14 of her 19 in the second half and the team made 4 of its 5 second-half free throws in the final period.
The team had to play the final three minutes of the game without its usual spark plug sophomore DJ Sterling after she fouled out, and it took a strong effort from everyone to step up and win the game.
"Lily played with great maturity," said Morrow of his emerging leader who, carrying four fouls herself, kept applying effective pressure without committing another foul down the stretch.
"Kylee’s been doing her best shooting in the most important games and her confidence is growing. I’m so proud of the way every single played her role which enabled us to take charge of the game."
Also scoring for the Cubs were Sterling with 6, McKenzie Crenshaw with 3, Sydney Stephens, Melissa Pemberton, and Farrell with 2 points each and Antonia Navarrete with a free throw.
South Fork 9-2-11-13 --35
Ferndale 12-8-6-8 --34
The win was especially gratifying after the team had suffered a humiliating 58-7 loss at McKinleyville earlier in the week. The undefeated Lady Panthers are a varsity caliber team and the Lady Cubs faced them with several players sub-par from the flu.
"We came close to losing our cool but never crossed that point and managed to keep our heads up," said Morrow. "Then we decided to use the loss as fuel to prepare for the Ferndale game, and I guess it worked."
The Lady Cubs will face Fortuna this week at home on Wednesday at 6 p.m. and then will begin the second round of Humboldt Del Norte Little Four Conference play on Friday when Hoopa comes to town for a rematch of the league opener which the Cubs lost by just 1 point two weeks ago. Friday’s tip-off will be at 3 p.m.