A big win changes Ferndale High’s girls basketball season

By: Mark Vest | Woodward Talk | Published February 7, 2018

 Ferndale High sophomore Keneisha Williams takes a shot against Berkley High earlier this season. The Eagles recently got their first win of the season, which coach Christina Nagle said has “picked up the confidence and positivity” of the team.

Ferndale High sophomore Keneisha Williams takes a shot against Berkley High earlier this season. The Eagles recently got their first win of the season, which coach Christina Nagle said has “picked up the confidence and positivity” of the team.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

At press time, Ferndale High girls basketball was 2-8 overall and 2-6 in the Oakland Activities Association Blue Division.

But sometimes even when things seem to be the toughest, a dramatic change can occur, and when Ferndale got its first win of the season, it helped set a new tone for the program.

Prior to getting that 38-35 win against Pontiac High Jan. 26, the Eagles were 0-7. Earlier in the season, Pontiac beat Ferndale 55-19.

“That has picked up the confidence and positivity of (the) team,” said coach Christina Nagle. “I think it was so important for us. We were having some chemistry issues on our team, some communication issues, and once we really got that all resolved, (we) were able to focus on basketball and learned how to play with each other.”

The Eagles got their second win of the season less than a week later against Hazel Park High.

Although Nagle was previously on Ferndale’s staff as an assistant, this is her first season leading a varsity program. And while there are things she can teach players, some of her on-the-job training could also benefit the program going forward.

“As a coaching staff, we’ve really had to figure (it) out,” Nagle said. “(The players are) each so unique, so we’ve really had to figure out how each kid learns. Obviously, not every kid learns the same way. So, it’s not only a learning experience for them, but it’s a learning experience for us too. … It’s not an easy thing, but I think we’re now at that point where we’ve figured out the best way to teach these girls. … It’s exciting to be a part of.”

Ferndale has gone from a team that Nagle said hit a “breaking point” earlier this season, to one that has some attributes that can make a coach’s life a lot easier.

“I think our biggest strength right now is we rally around each other when good things happen, and when bad things happen, we don’t self-destruct like we used to in the past,” Nagle said. “Basketball’s a game of runs. So, when the other team goes on a run, when we would typically self-destruct, we rally around each other, we pick each other up and then we go on a run. It’s really cool to see.”

Junior Jaliyah Love and seniors Ma’yona Patmon and Ronyae’ Lynn are the team captains. Nagle said they have been doing a “great job leading this team.”

Given her aspiration to change the culture of the program, solid leadership can play a vital role in the future of Ferndale girls basketball.

“I think it’s important for rebuilding our program,” Nagle said. “We have to have that strong leadership, or else we wouldn’t be getting as successful as we are at the rate we are.”

Although things haven’t always looked good, this season’s squad could play a role in helping to usher in a new era for the program.

“I think my seniors get it,” Nagle said. “I think they’re wishing that they could stay a couple more years, because I think they see how successful they can be, and they’re having fun. … I think we’ve already started to set a really solid foundation, which is cool. It’ll be cool to watch in the next couple years where the program goes.”

Up next, Ferndale plays at 7 p.m. Feb. 9 at Auburn Hills Avondale.