Shutout leads to Lady Bulldog win

Published 10:17 pm Tuesday, January 19, 2010

King’s Fork blanked Hickory in the third quarter and for nearly 10 minutes of the second half in all and went on to a 42-34 win in a Southeastern District girls basketball game Tuesday night.

When it came to any great coaching strategy at halftime that led to the outstanding defense in the third quarter, King’s Fork head coach Maurice Fofana said, “actually, it was nothing.”

“We just had to turn up our defense and play better,” Fofana said.

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The Lady Bulldogs certainly turned up their defense and the pace of the game in the second half. Early on, both teams played tight zone defenses and the pace of the game was slow, seemingly suiting the Lady Hawks just fine.

In the opening quarter, each team traded long, deliberate possessions and Hickory led 8-6. The Lady Hawks kept the game at a walking pace and led 12-8 a couple minutes into the second period.

“In the first half, we gave them open shots and they made a couple threes that were wide open shots and we just let them take them,” Fofana said. “I just had to challenge my team to play hard.”

“We have to play defense. We don’t shoot the ball all that well, so our only choice is to get out and play good defense,” said Fofana.

From down by four points, Chantel Roberts scored off an offensive rebound, actually KF’s fourth offensive rebound of the same possession, then, with KF setting up its full-court press, Kurtisha Ewell intercepted a pass and went in for a lay-up to make it 12-12.

The Lady Bulldog baskets allowed the press to become even tougher and KF gained momentum. Kiara Branch’s second three-pointer of the quarter made it 22-17 KF with 3:40 left in the half. KF held a 24-22 lead at halftime.

The second quarter was an improvement for the Lady Bulldogs, but the third period was a defensive masterpiece.

Neither side scored for the first three minutes and there were no field goals until the 3:28 mark of the quarter. A lay-up by Roberts finally broke that drought.

In the last 0:50 of the period, Whitney Nichols drove into the paint and made a short jumper. Following another Hickory turnover, Tamara Stone drained a three-pointer in the last 0:10 to take KF’s lead to 34-22.

The Lady Bulldogs forced nine Hickory turnovers and Hickory missed all seven field goal attempts in the quarter.

Meranda Harris swished a three-pointer for the first points of the fourth period, giving KF its largest lead of the night, 37-22. Hickory finally scored its first points of the half with 6:17 left in the fourth.

The Lady Hawks closed within 38-32 with just under four minutes remaining. KF put the game away with Renikqua Ricks making a lay-up and, after a couple more defensive stops, the Lady Bulldogs turned defense into offense with Branch getting a steal, then driving on a fast break and scoring a tough lay-up through contact to make it 42-32.

Of the 23 Hickory turnovers on the night, 16 came via Lady Bulldog steals. Branch led KF with 10 points and five steals.

KF outrebounded Hickory 39-24, with a big portion of the advantage coming from KF’s offensive rebounding. Stone led KF with 11 rebounds. Roberts, Nichols, Ewell and Ricks had six points each. Roberts and Ricks had nine and seven rebounds, respectively.

KF avenged an earlier loss to Hickory. On Friday night, KF did the same to Oscar Smith with a 53-51 win.

The Lady Bulldogs (5-9, 4-7) play at Nansemond River on Thursday at 7:30 p.m.