Bulldogs advance to tourney final

Published 9:26pm Saturday, December 29, 2012

The King’s Fork Bulldogs rode good second half defense and strong shooting to a 65-52 win over the Kellam Knights during day two of the second annual Bulldog Christmas Tournament at King’s Fork High School on Friday night.

King's Fork senior forward Donte Ralph goes for two against the Kellam Knights on Friday night. Ralph came up big in the fourth quarter to help the Bulldogs win 65-52 on day two of the second annual Bulldog Christmas Tournament at King's Fork High School.

“The kids just came out and did defensively what I wanted them to do in the second half,” KF head coach Josh Worrell said. “First half, we did it in spurts. We still let them cut in front of us. Second half, I think we did a much better job of making sure that we can touch them before they get the basketball. We’re not going to let them just catch the basketball, and then we’ll go play defense. I think that changed the flow of the game.”

The Bulldogs took a 15-12 lead out of the first quarter and then traded three-pointers with the Knights in the second quarter. As the period reached its conclusion, KF junior guard Ricky Scott hit a three-pointer and a jumper from the wing that gave the Bulldogs a 33-31 halftime lead. King’s Fork was still out-scored in the quarter, 19-18.

To start the third quarter, the Knights went on a run and briefly pulled ahead, but the Bulldogs responded and began the final quarter with a five-point lead.

“We’ve talked about winning quarters,” Worrell said. “We’ve never won a game this year where we win two quarters, lose two quarters. First half, we won a quarter, lost a quarter. Then, we won the third quarter, and all I told them on the bench is, ‘Hey, look, we lose this last quarter, we’re going to lose.’”

Kellam hit a three to start the fourth, making it 43-41, but then the Bulldogs began to distance themselves on the strength of clutch baskets and free throws from senior forward Donte Ralph and Scott.

Scott gave a remarkable performance in only his third game back after being out due to a broken bone in his foot. He led King’s Fork with 18 points, including four three-pointers. Worrell noted that it was a drastic improvement over the previous game against Menchville.

“He came out ready to play,” Worrell said. “I was really hard on him last night because I didn’t think he did what he was supposed to do when he was on the floor.”

Worrell’s words reached Scott and helped him to improve.

“What he said, it just made me want to go out there and do better for my coach,” Scott said. “So, I just tried to go out there and do my best so we could get a win.”

“He came in in big moments and made shots and stayed confident and stayed aggressive,” Worrell said.

Ralph posted 13 points and six rebounds, and senior guard Jacorey Smith had an important hand in the win with 10 points, eight assists, four steals and three blocks.

This win marked the Bulldogs’ sixth in a row. It also advanced them further than they went in this same tournament last year when they were defeated in the second round by Woodside.

King’s Fork (7-3, 5-2) played Woodside again, this time in the tournament championship on Saturday night. For full coverage of the game, see the New Year’s Day edition of the Suffolk News-Herald.

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