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Recognitions across decades planned at Ferndale High game in soon to be demolished gym

Celebration at the end of Ferndale High School's 55 to 52 basketball victory over Lynden (January 26, 2022). Photo courtesy of Charlotte Wells

FERNDALE, Wash. — A Golden (Eagles) Era of local basketball ends Saturday afternoon, February 5th, at Ferndale High School.

Golden Eagles boys’ basketball closes the chapter on 65 years of scheduled interscholastic athletic events in the school’s gymnasium. The gym is scheduled for demolition in June as construction continues on the new school campus.

Tipoff is 1:30pm against Blaine following a Noon junior varsity game.

As a former FHS basketball player, Jack Wells (Class of 1984) has contacted many players from the past to attend the game. The athletic department invites everyone who competed in any other sport or holds special memories of the old gym’s activities—AAU basketball tournaments and clinics, plus wrestling, volleyball, cheerleading, band, et al—to attend.

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A brief pre-game ceremony, organized by Jack and his wife, Charlotte (parents of senior guard Luke Wells) will recognize groups of attendees who will stand sequentially by decades, from the ‘50s to present. The building opened during the 1957-’58 seasons and a second gym facility expanded it 18 years later, in time for 1975-’76 competitions. That comprises thousands of athletes from eight different decades! 

Saturday also marks the annual Senior Recognition traditionally staged at the final home game. Introductions at center court will feature eight seniors and their families (alphabetically): Xander Castleberry, Jazen Guillory, Ethan Lagerway, Sean Morrison, Jesse Sapp, Mark Schlichting, Nate Tsegaye, and Luke Wells. Morrison and Sapp are sidelined by injury.

In homage, Coach Jason Owens, completing his 7th season as head coach (and 11th overall, formerly C Team coach), will start five seniors in homage. Guillory, Schlichting and Wells are two-year regular starters (as were Morrison and Sapp before their season-ending injuries). Guillory was All-Conference—top 10 NWC players—his sophomore year and missed his junior year with a football knee injury. Schlichting was All-Conference as a junior. And Wells was Honorable Mention last year.

“We’re excited about our last regular-season opportunity to have a big crowd recognizing our seniors and the memories of the old gym,” Owens said.

The team, with no player over 6’3”, stands 8-9 and expects a middle-of-the-pack District seeding. They have labeled February as its “third season” this school year. They finished December 1-7 with two cancellations. Since January, however, they’re 7-2 including a four-game win streak and the first win over powerhouse Lynden HS in 14 years.

Whatcom News Contributor Mike McKenzie was a freelance sports reporter across many sports for Sports Illustrated between 1988 and 2003. He also spent 5 years as special assistant to the athletic director & head football coach at Texas A&M University. Currently, McKenzie provides mental training & peak performance coaching for FHS athletes and continues to write from his home on Lummi Island.

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