Wildcats turn things around, post 3-game win streak; Lady Cats sitting pretty with 1st place in league

Mark Lourenzo

Beacon Correspondent

The Ferndale Wildcats have turned around their fortunes just in time to make a late season run and now are sitting on a three-game win streak as we go to press. After posting their first league win of the season on Jan. 18, a 64-35 triumph over visiting South Fork, the Cats have reeled off wins over Pt Arena and Del Norte. With just five games left in the regular season, Ferndale is playing the kind of ball that Wildcat fans had hoped to see this season and the postseason is just around the corner. Meanwhile, the Ferndale Lady Cats are sitting pretty in the Little 4 standings, as they hold a two game lead over the other three teams in conference.

Last Friday night was truly a breakthrough win for the Ferndale Wildcats. Looking for their first league win of the season, the Cats broke out to an early lead over the visiting South Fork Cubs. Making it look easy, Ferndale played tough defense and got the steals. On the offensive side there was plenty of movement away from the ball and multiple team members doled out assists, leading to teammates baskets. After exchanging field goals to start the game, the Cats took off from there and never trailed the rest of the way. Hunter Van Emmerik continued his excellent season by putting up 22 points, with three assists and 10 rebounds. Fellow teammates Chris Catana, Kaden Zanone, Ike Townsend, Justin Lang, Jacoby Hughes and Wyatt Standley all contributed with timely baskets, assists, steals and rebounds as the Cats looked fluid in their effort.

Though it appeared to be a turning point in their season, Ferndale head coach Steve Coppini said after the game that it was only one game and one win. "In order for it to be a turning point, you have to follow it up, but it was by far our best team effort of the season," said Coppini after the team's 29-point win over the Cubs.

Ferndale on Jan. 19 played host to the Point Arena Pilots, who came north shorthanded and were dominated by the Wildcats in their 48-25 win. Justin Lang scored 10 points, Hunter Van Emmerik added nine and the Cats got 10 players into the scorebook.

Even more impressive was Ferndale's win on the road this just past Tuesday evening when they nipped the Del Norte Warriors up at Crescent City by a final of 48-44. Van Emmerik topped all scorers with his 17 points, Ike Townsend continues to contribute as he added nine points and both Justin Lang and Chris Catana chipped in 8 points apiece. Ferndale jumped to a 10-0 lead to start the game and never trailed however, the Warriors hung tough and made things interesting by hitting the 3-point shot in the final period.

The Ferndale Lady Cats are in great shape as they sit on a two-game lead in the Little Four with just three games remaining in league play. Ferndale hosted the South Fork Cubs on Jan. 18 and hung on for a 41-37 win over the scrappy Cubs. Meagan Earley led the team with 14 points and Sadie Rayl hit three long distance shots to total nine points. Ferndale trailed early in the contest and the game was ugly at times but the Cats pulled it off to stay unbeaten in league. "It was a win, we'll just say that, we're happy with the win," said victorious head coach Kristy Christensen after the game.

The Ferndale junior varsity Wildcat boys also earned a win versus South Fork. Wildcat center Trevor Earley had a big game as his 18 points and 15 rebounds led the way. Lane Sotomayor also came up big scoring 14 points and adding 8 boards. Eight players got into the scoring column for Ferndale and the Cats led almost wire to wire in their 59-49 win. Saturday the Cats downed Point Arena by a score of 58-23. The Pilots were a couple of players short on the JV squad and were no match for the deep and talented Wildcat team. That win put the team's streak to five games, the result from Del Norte was not available at press time, but was sure to be a test for the Cats.

photo captions:

Photos by Mark Lourenzo/Beacon

1. Shooting guard Justin Lang and the Ferndale Wildcats are flying high after getting their first league win of the season Friday night over South Fork by a score of 64-35. The Cats followed it up with a 48-25 win over Point Arena on Saturday, Lang scoring 10 points in each of the wins.

2. Here come the Ferndale Lady Cats: Ferndale's Kendra Losa leads the way up court Friday as teammates Sadie Rayl, Maci Branstetter and Meagan Earley play transition basketball for the Wildcats. With their 41-37 win over South Fork, the Cats find themselves 3-0 in league with a two game lead over the competition in the Little 4 Conference. Sporting an overall record of 13-5, Ferndale has just five very important games left in the regular season.