Bulldogs finish 18-0 SED campaign

Published 8:43 pm Wednesday, February 11, 2009

King’s Fork completed an 18-0 regular season through the Southeastern District on Tuesday night with a blowout, 75-35, over Western Branch.

The Bulldogs had wrapped up their first-ever district regular-season championship last week. KF finishes the regular season with a 21-1 record and ranked second in the state in the Group AAA Associated Press poll.

Most of the second half was turned into a chance for all 14 Bulldogs to see action thanks to a 20-4 KF run which was the third period. The 40-point win still provided chances for KF head coach Joshua Worrell to teach ahead of postseason play.

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Through the first four minutes, a slow start by King’s Fork meant a 2-2 tie. Seven points in less than a minute, five coming by Jamar Wertz with a pair of free throws and a three-pointer, sparked KF to a lead.

The Bulldogs stretched their lead through the remainder of the half, mixing offense from the perimeter, as Wertz had 11 points by halftime and Jaquon Parker scored 10 points in the half, and in the paint, as Davante Gardner and Jay Copeland scored six points each.

KF’s defensive play wasn’t to Worrell’s expectations though. Even with a 35-22 lead at the break, Worrell called his side’s defense in the half “horrible.”

“We were able to refocus after halftime, but I said, ‘why does it take a halftime speech to get you guys to play like this?’” said Worrell.

“This” was allowing five Bruin points and one field goal in the first 14 minutes of the second half.

The Bulldogs opened the third period going inside to Gardner for a bucket in the low post, then for an identical basket by Copeland.

By the time Western Branch scored a field goal, with 1:16 to go in the third period, the Bulldogs had gone out to a 53-26 lead. Copeland led KF with eight points in the third period.

Turning up the defensive play led to easier offense as well. The Bulldogs made 17 of 29 field goals (58.6 percent) in the second half.

Eleven Bulldogs scored during the second half and the fourth period was still a 20-9 KF advantage. Parker had 17 points, seven assists and four steals. Wertz had 17 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Copeland finished with 14 points, eight rebounds and three of KF’s eight blocked shots.

King’s Fork has clinched a spot in the Eastern Region Tournament with its regular-season title, but the Bulldogs will still be going for their second straight Southeastern District Tournament starting Friday evening when the top seed hosts No. 8 Oscar Smith. Nansemond River and Great Bridge will meet in the first quarterfinal game at King’s Fork starting at 5:30 p.m. Friday.