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Pups will be key for Fork

King’s Fork’s boys basketball team got their first taste of success last year in their sophomore season as a program.

But, according to Jamar Wertz, a second-team all-Southeastern District selection last season as a freshman, the Bulldogs want a lot more than that this year.

&uot;We’re hungry for more victories, we let a lot of games turn into losses last year,&uot; said Wertz.

Wertz, a sophomore, and two seniors, Sha’ka Miller and Loren Farris, both now third-year veterans of the varsity team, are the main leaders for the Bulldogs.

&uot;It’s up to us to teach them the things we’ve done wrong and the things we’ve done right,&uot; said Miller about his role as a senior on a team almost full of underclassmen.

He’ll be busy as a leader because head coach Josh Worrell has five sophomores and four freshmen on his varsity team.

But it’s not a case of the Bulldogs needing a lot of youngsters out of desperation.

&uot;They’re here because they can play, they’ve all been with each other for four or five years through AAU or JV,&uot; said Worrell.

&uot;They know each others’ moves and how they like to play.&uot;

&uot;They’ve been here through summer leagues and now in tryouts,&uot; said Farris, &uot;they are big time players.&uot;

Even with a good amount of chemistry and talent, there’s still a learning curve at the varsity level.

&uot;But it’s mainly small things, just because they haven’t been with me long enough to know what I want from them,&uot; Worrell said.

&uot;They are young and inexperienced, but not playing wise, not from a basketball sense.&uot;

Miller at point guard and Farris at center are already leaders, but in different ways, according to their coach.

&uot;Sha’ka’s more vocal.

Loren’s usually more quiet on the court, but not so quiet off the court.

&uot;As the point guard,&uot; said Worrell, &uot;Sha’ka does a very good job calling our offense and defense and seeing things because he’s been doing this long enough.&uot;

Having a point guard controlling the game on the fly is key to how the Bulldogs want to play.

Coach Worrell wants his team to play quickly and look for easy buckets when they have the chance, but execute in the half-court offense as well.

&uot;There are few teams who can push the ball sometimes and still set up their offense and play well when they need to,&uot; said Worrell, &uot;I think we can do both.&uot;

On the other end of the floor, &uot;we’re going to be in your face.

It’s going to be nitty-gritty, lock-down D,&uot; said Wertz.

&uot;Our defense initiates our offense, it’s what we feed off of,&uot; said Farris.

&uot;This is a very good squad, it’s very complete,&uot; said Miller.

&uot;We’re going to hurt a lot of people’s feelings this year,&uot; said Wertz.

For the Bulldog players, there’s no reason not to set the team goals high.

&uot;No one plays unless they want to win it all,&uot; said Wertz.

On the way to a district or state championship, something Wertz still says is &uot;long-term,&uot; improving their standing among their city rivals is the more immediate goal as the Bulldogs have yet to get a win against Nansemond River or Lakeland.

King’s Fork starts their 2006-07 season tomorrow evening at Churchland.

In last season’s opener, Churchland beat KF, 64-51.

This weekend, KF hosts the Suffolk Showcase, a doubleheader featuring Lakeland in game one and the Bulldogs in game two, on Saturday beginning at 5:30 p.m.