Ferrin, Wood embrace final hurrah

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Dakota Ridge tandem goes out on top at the 5A CCGS All-State game

By Craig Harper
For the Courier
ARVADA — For the past four years, Dakota Ridge sports fans must have thought Jae Ferrin and Lauren Wood were conjoined twins. Standing 6-foot and 5-11, respectively, they played together on the volleyball team in the fall and, with the exception of the 2012-13 season, the girls basketball team during the winter.
“We play everything together, and that’s how it’s been since, like, elementary school,” Wood said.
In fact, Wood admitted, it’s always been assumed they are BFFs, inseparable. “Everybody thinks that, but we do our completely separate things,” she said.
“We work well together as teammates,” Ferrin said. But, “We’re different people” and don’t socialize “outside of basketball.”
Their long relationship in sports ended quietly March 30 when the Lady Eagles duo helped the Blue team to a 65-57 victory in the 5A Colorado Coaches of Girls Sports All-State game at Arvada West. Ferrin scored 11 points and Woods had six in their final basketball appearance as high schoolers. Ferrin is taking her wares to Westmont College, a NAIA school in Santa Barbara, Calif., and Wood will play for Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Ore., an NCAA Division III program.
“It’s always fun to play with her, and it’s going to be weird ending this chapter and going off in separate ways,” Wood said.
Their final game came a year after Dakota Ridge relieved longtime girls basketball coach Traci Nemechek, whose presence was a major reason Ferrin opted to sit out the 2012-13 season. She rejoined the team when Doug Maier became the new coach and, paired once again with Wood, helped the Eagles reach the Elite Eight in the 5A tournament despite Maier resigning at mid-season.
“I didn’t think I would ever play high school basketball again, so that was hard for me,” Ferrin said. “I would still have tried to play in college and stuff, but I wasn’t going to play high school. It just worked out.”
Ferrin and Wood proved to be a deadly duo, and their presence helped Dakota Ridge weather the program’s second coaching change in less than a year. Ferrin averaged a team-high 15.6 points to Wood’s 15.3, and Wood led the team in rebounding at 8.0 to Ferrin’s 7.5.
“We got through it easily just because we had already been through it once,” Wood said. “All of us came together and we were OK with it.”
Teammates in high school, Ferrin and Wood play on different club teams. Those club programs provided contact with their soon-to-be college teams, Ferrin discovered by Westmont coaches at a tournament in Portland, Ore.; Wood first seen by Lewis and Clark in Chicago.
“I’m excited,” Ferrin said of playing for Westmont, which won the 2013 NAIA Division I championship. “It’s a really good Christian environment and the academics are really good. And, of course,  the location is great. I’ve always dreamed about going to California and that just kind of worked out.”
“They first saw me play in July and I decided to go there by October,” Wood said of Lewis and Clark. “(Portland) reminds me a lot of Boulder, so I can feel at home.”