Bulldogs remain perfect in SED

Published 10:43 pm Tuesday, January 5, 2010

In a contest of the last two unbeaten boys basketball teams in the Southeastern District, King’s Fork (9-2, 7-0) jumped out to a 25-point lead over visiting Great Bridge (9-1, 7-1) on went on to a 71-58 victory.

The first 12 minutes were outstanding for the host Bulldogs and the last couple minutes turned out to be fairly routine for the Bulldogs, but Great Bridge made things very interesting in between.

King’s Fork, even without starting center Davante Gardner on the floor for the first five minutes, scored the first five points of the game and kept going to a 13-4 lead on Derek Wright’s third three-pointer of the opening minutes.

When Gardner came on the floor, the Bulldogs went right to their 6-foot-9 senior for two power moves in the lane and two buckets. Dion Bivens drained a three-pointer for the final points of the period, giving KF a 21-7 lead.

The rout continued as the Bulldogs kept getting offense from all over the floor. Gardner and Jay Copeland combined for the first three buckets of the period inside. Wright made his fourth and fifth treys of the first half to take KF’s lead to 34-9 with 3:45 remaining in the half.

With everything rolling in King’s Fork’s direction, Great Bridge suddenly managed to stop the Bulldogs in their tracks.

The Bulldogs stopped themselves on a few occasions as a rash of three straight Bulldog turnovers led to six Wildcat points in a 30-second span to make it 34-21.

A three-pointer by Great Bridge’s top scorer, Briante Weber, and a free throw by GB center Shane Popelka made it 36-25 at halftime. Great Bridge outscored KF 16-2 in the last 3:45 of the half.

KF shot 60.9 percent (14-of-23) from the floor in the half, but in the final two minutes, the Bulldogs couldn’t hold onto the ball long enough to take any shots.

Great Bridge kept cutting into the Bulldog lead in the third period. A quick five-point GB rally cut KF’s lead down to 45-37 and six straight Wildcat points, again fueled by KF turnovers against GB’s full-court defense, made it 47-43 KF in the last minute of the period.

The Bulldogs got a much needed shot of energy in the final seconds of the quarter thanks to Gardner as he cut down the lane and threw down a big right-handed dunk while being fouled. Gardner made the free throw to give KF a 50-43 lead going to the fourth period. Gardner’s jam gave the Bulldog fans a reason to cheer, but Great Bridge, after being down by 25, was in fine shape with eight minutes to go.

The Bulldogs went right back to their big man to open the fourth period. Gardner scored with a soft one-handed jumper in the paint and with a putback from an offensive board to take KF’s lead to 11.

Great Bridge rallied again, with a three by Weber, who finished with 19 points, making it 56-50 KF with 4:12 left.

With a basket by Gardner inside, then four straight points by Bivens, KF’s lead grew back to double digits and was at least nine points through the final three minutes.

Gardner finished with 25 points and six rebounds. Prior to the game, Gardner was honored for surpassing 1,000 points in his KF career during KF’s three games in Binghamton, N.Y.

Wright, who was 6-for-7 from three-point range, had 21 points and six rebounds. Bivens added 11 points and Copeland had 10 points and seven rebounds. Alvin Daughtrey and Dominique Patterson had six assists each.

The Bulldogs finished the night shooting 57.8 percent (26-for-45) from the field, but 45.8 percent (11-for-24) shooting at the foul line, with most of the attempts coming in the fourth period, allowed Great Bridge to stay within striking distance.

King’s Fork plays at Deep Creek Friday evening.