King’s Fork doubles up Hickory

Published 9:47 pm Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Even when somewhat disinterested, King’s Fork High basketball star TaShauna “Sugar” Rodgers can be close to unstoppable. So it was Tuesday in the Bulldogs’ 70-35 rout of visiting Hickory during a Southeastern District game.

Rodgers, who consistently lights up even the region’s best teams for more than 20 points, had 34 against the Hawks, who have lost all five games they’ve played this season.

Rodgers showed her usual brilliance by sinking her first five 3-point shots and by dishing out an assist backwards and over her head as she sailed out of bounds under the Hickory hoop. But she also botched a layup when she approached the basket with obvious nonchalance and missed a variety of wild, off-balance hook shots.

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Late in the game, Rodgers wound up on the floor and took somewhere between five and 10 seconds to retie one of her shoes, even as play swirled around her. King’s Fork coach Garry Murphy said his swing player was intense enough for his tastes, pointing out that the contest was a blowout early and that Rodgers “probably spent more time on the floor going after loose balls than she has in any game so far.”

“Normally, I won’t defend Sugar when she’s flipping the ball up,” Murphy said. “But she was getting pushed and hit a lot and I think she was frustrated she wasn’t getting many calls in the low post.”

Frankly, King’s Fork could have easily handled Hickory even without Rodgers. The Hawks started three junior forwards and two sophomore guards, none of them taller than 6 feet. The Bulldogs (4-1, 4-1) never trailed and the only deadlock was at 4-4 before the hosts held leads of 16-10 after a quarter and 37-15 by halftime.

“We used this game to get experience for my kids who don’t get much playing time otherwise,” said Murphy, whose team next plays in the Lady Greyhound Holiday Tournament at Norcom starting Dec. 26.

“Our bench is a lot younger this year and some of the girls on it still have the JV mentality where they almost play like robots. I can throw several situations at them that might occur on the floor, but they still have to be able to think and adapt out there.”

King’s Fork got 10 points from Erica Jefferson and seven from Whitney Nichols while forcing Hickory to commit 29 turnovers and hit only 11 of 37 field goals (30 percent). The Hawks were able to attempt just 13 field goals in the first half and made 5 of 10 free throws. The Bulldogs hit on 24 of 65 field goal attempts (37 percent) but were 14 of 31 (45 percent) in the first half and before Murphy began liberal substitution.