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Published March 13, 2014

Ferndale closes season in hard-fought loss to Country Day in regional final

» click to enlarge «
Taryn Stephens drives the lane during Ferndale’s regional semifinal win against Detroit Collegiate Prep. The Eagles end the season 15-7.

CLAWSON — So, they met again.And one of these years, Eric Lloyd thinks he just might get the best of Country Day.

Who knows when and where, but the Ferndale High girls basketball coach couldn’t help but smile thinking about it.

It wouldn’t be 2014, though, as the Eagles closed the winter season March 6 at Clawson High with a 74-41 setback to one of the top teams in Class B.

Ferndale hung tough early on, trailing just 14-6 after the first quarter.

But from there on out, Country Day’s depth and talent took over.

Ferndale was outscored 26-11 in the second frame, and things never really got close again.

“They had the bodies,” Lloyd said of Country Day’s depth and ability to call on the bench. He deemed it the biggest difference in the game. “Country Day is a good team. Any mistake we made, they capitalized on.”

This marked the second straight year the Eagles reached the regional final and the second straight year it was Country Day officially ending the season.

But for a team that finished 15-7 overall, and a program that earned its third straight district title in the process, there was a lot to be happy about.

“I’m very proud of this group,” Lloyd boasted. “You have to enjoy a season like this. We had some doubters when things started — people that said we couldn’t be as good as last year. But we really progressed as a team. And in the end, I mean, we lost to Country Day. That’s a legendary program. There’s a lot of teams out there right now that aren’t playing for a regional title.”

After last year’s impressive run, Lloyd said his girls began the 2013-14 with a target on their back.

And that was something they needed to get used to.

“It took us some time,” he explained. “It’s different when people know who you are. But they realized that, and once they started playing together, we really progressed as a team.”

Lloyd was quick to credit his trio of senior leaders — Taryn Stephens, Micaela Ellis and Amber Williams — who he said righted the ship when the season was starting to slip away.

“They carried us,” he said. “They played their hearts out. A lot of the success we had was because of those three.”

And they’ll be tough to replace.

But with the recent success, and some younger contributors coming up, Lloyd expects nothing but more of the same results in the years to come.

As he walked out of the Clawson gym, a season now complete, Lloyd shook Country Day coach Frank Orlando’s hand, smiled, and said, “Same time and place next year. How about it?”

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