It was over almost from the beginning.
South Fork turned the ball over on its first four offensive possessions and the Ferndale girls' basketball team opened up a 13-0 lead in the first five minutes of the game in Ferndale Thursday night.
The Wildcats would never looked back in a 57-20 Little 4 win over the Cubs.
"We got outhustled in every way," South Fork head coach Dave Bushnell said. "We let them dictate what we did on the floor - both on the offensive and defensive ends - and you can't do that."
At the end of the first quarter, Ferndale held South Fork to just three points with its staple man-to-man defense.
Bushnell praised the Wildcats' defense and said the Cubs just didn't play physical enough to keep up.
"The tone (of the game) was definitely set by our defense. (Man-to-man) is our foundation," Ferndale head coach Kristie Christiansen said. "I'm really proud of the way our girls came out. Tonight we played the way we practiced the last two days. That's a testament to how hard they've been practicing."
But it wasn't just the Wildcats' defense that was hitting on all cylinders. So was their offense.
Ferndale spread the ball and the scoring around the court. Megan Early lead all scores with a 17 points, including two 3-pointers, while Emma Gomes added 10 points.
Kendra Losa finished the night with nine points and Maci and Kylee Branstetter had 7 and 6 points, respectively.
"We've really been working on improving our zone offense," Christiansen said. "In the preseason, we played a lot of out of the area teams that were a lot bigger and played man-to-man. Then, we play people in our league and everyone's playing zone. It's taken some time to refine in a game situation our zone. I think tonight is the best that we've run our zone offense, but there's always room for refinement."
Kassie Humphrey led South Fork with eight points and Trisha Harrison added six.
Although the Cubs have been playing with a seven-player roster all season they were even more short-handed on Friday. __Freshman guard Shondra Moser got hurt during South Fork's game against St. Bernard's on Jan. 23 and will be out for the rest of the season. Kylee Teasley, who is one of the Cubs starting five, also didn't play due to illness. Bushnell brought up Victoria Van Meter and McKenzie Crenshaw from the junior varsity team to fill out his roster.
"It's been tough all year with our numbers," Bushnell said." Our JV and our varsity numbers have been down. We have several kids who just didn't want to come out and play basketball this year."
South Fork (1-3 Little 4, 10-10 overall) will have to completely regroup to get back into the Little 4 title race.
"For next week, we just have to ... ," Bushnell started to say. "We just have to be more determined as a whole and come out with the attitude that we're not going to get rolled over. And that's it."
Ferndale's (3-1 Little 4, 16-6 overall) win sets up a showdown between them and first place St. Bernard's Tuesday, Feb. 4
"We just have to show up and play (against St. Bernard's)," Christiansen said. "We have to play with the intensity and the heart that we played with tonight. It's a game, I'm not going to make it some huge monumental event but we have to go out and play well and play with a lot of heart and passion."
PHOTO COURTESY OF JOSE QUEZADA FOR THE TIMES-STANDARD
South Fork's Brianna Finney (33) goes for the block against Ferndale's Megan Early.