KF gets shot at third straight title

Published 10:11 pm Thursday, February 19, 2009

Every basketball player, coach and fan around the Southeastern District knew King’s Fork’s girls basketball team this season would go as far as TaShauna “Sugar” Rodgers could carry it.

This week, Rodgers one-upped her third straight district MVP award by being named one of 24 McDonald’s All-Americans. So with the lead late in the district tournament semifinal against Nansemond River, Rodgers’ coach, Garry Murphy, had a simple plan.

“In the last timeout, I told her, ‘You are the All-American. We’ll ride your coattails.’” said Murphy.

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The end result was a 70-67 win for King’s Fork, the Lady Bulldogs’ first win in three tries against their cross-city rival this season. Rodgers poured in 16 of KF’s 24 points in the fourth period, finishing with 34 points, 19 rebounds and five assists.

King’s Fork (17-6) gets to play for its third straight district tournament title on Friday at 6 p.m. at King’s Fork.

The first half was a game of alternating runs. The Lady Warriors, with Trinese Fox doing a good job early on of face-guarding Rodgers everywhere on the floor, broke out to an 8-2 lead.

Even with Fox’s best efforts, Rodgers got going a few minutes into the game. Rodgers poured in eight straight points, with her second three-pointer in the stretch giving KF a 20-13 lead.

Through the last 10 minutes of the half, NR gained the lead with a 14-0 run, only for KF to answer with a 10-0 run to make it 30-27 KF. The half ended knotted, 33-33. Rodgers had 14 points and 11 boards in the half. Tamara Stone added eight points. NR was led by Andrea Jones with 11 points.

KF scored the first seven points of the second half, with Stone scoring five on two jumpers. KF led the rest of the way.

Early in the fourth period, six straight points by Rodgers made it 54-44 KF with 5:35 left.

NR cut the lead to three twice in the last 2:07 of the game. A three-pointer by Jones, who finished with 18 points, made it 61-58 KF, only for KF to regain a cushion, 67-60, with a 6-2 run capped by a 17-foot jumper by Rodgers as the clock went under a minute to go.

NR got within 70-67 and had a last-second chance after two missed free throws by KF’s Whitney Nichols with 2.9 seconds left, but a 50-foot shot at the horn by Tanisha Brown was no good.

Stone finished with 18 points for the Lady Bulldogs. Brown and Ciera Mobley added 13 points and 12 points respectively for NR.