Bulldogs rebound

Published 9:38 pm Saturday, December 12, 2009

King’s Fork opened Friday night’s Southeastern District basketball game with 16 straight points against visiting Hickory and the Bulldogs continued on to a 79-53 win.

After dropping their season opener against Norcom, the Bulldogs have cruised through three straight district games. Next up for the Bulldogs is a trip to city rival Nansemond River (2-1, 2-1) on Tuesday evening and three games in four days next week.

“In the past three games, everyone’s been able to play,” said KF head coach Joshua Worrell. Worrell said he hopes to use his increasing depth to his advantage, even in closer games.

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“We had good energy on the defensive end tonight and I keep telling them ‘that’s where we’re going to win games,’” Worrell said.

King’s Fork’s starting five was excellent as well. Hickory showed a triangle-and-two defense and a 1-3-1 zone in the opening minutes, but neither odd defense slowed the Bulldogs. All five KF starters had scored by the time Derek Wright drained a three-pointer to make it 11-0 with 2:59 left in the first quarter.

“We had to have a little patience and our defense, for the first six minutes, they did an excellent job executing what I asked them to do,” said Worrell.

The balanced scoring carried over to the Bulldog bench in the second quarter. Fred Scott drove the baseline for a lay-up and a three-pointer by Tre Francisco put KF up 27-14.

Hickory closed within 29-23 just before the half. Hickory closed KF’s big lead largely while KF’s two main post players, Jay Copeland and Gardner, were on the bench with two fouls. Wright’s third three-pointer of the game came with 0:20 before the half and KF took a 32-23 lead to the break.

King’s Fork’s full-court press began paying off in a big way throughout the third period. KF scored the first five points of the half and Copeland took the lead to 37-23 by finishing a fast break with a three-point play.

KF went inside to Gardner on the right block and the 6-foot-8 senior turned into the lane, scored and was fouled. Gardner’s three-point play made it 42-26 KF.

The Bulldogs went on to post 27 points in the period and build a 59-36 lead. Gardner had nine points and Dominique Patterson added eight points in the quarter.

The fourth quarter was a chance for all 14 Bulldogs to see plenty of action, but even the final few minutes were important to Worrell.

“With three games in a week, hopefully it’ll be a big advantage for us to go to the bench and trust everyone we can go to,” Worrell said.

Wright had 16 points, including five of KF’s seven made three-pointers, to lead the Bulldogs. Gardner had 15 points, eight rebounds and five steals.

Copeland had nine points and nine rebounds. Off the bench, Patterson finished with eight points and Francisco had seven points. Point guard Alvin Daughtrey had six assists.