KF’s comeback beats city rival

Published 2:40 pm Tuesday, February 9, 2010

For the second time in two games, King’s Fork’s girls basketball team rallied from a double-digit deficit in the last 12 minutes of a Southeastern District game to pull out a victory.

On Friday, it was at Deep Creek for the Lady Bulldogs. Monday, the Lady Bulldogs did to city rival Lakeland. Lakeland led 33-23 at a timeout with 3:50 left in the third period. KF won the last 11:50 of action 30-11 to win 53-44.

The win makes King’s Fork (10-11, 9-9) the No. 4 seed for the Southeastern District Tournament. Lakeland (8-10, 8-10) will be No. 6 or No. 7 depending on Tuesday night’s Nansemond River at Deep Creek game.

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How King’s Fork put its comeback together was just like Friday as well. The Lady Bulldogs turned the game around with their full-court pressing defense.

King’s Fork and Lakeland both pressed and both played intense, physical defense the whole way. The Lady Cavaliers opened the game forcing all sorts of mistakes by King’s Fork. KF missed its first 10 shots from the field and lost 10 turnovers in the first period.

Tierra Armstrong scored all eight Lakeland points in the first period to give the Lady Cavs an 8-6 lead after a quarter.

Porshe Garner hit three-pointers on Lakeland’s first two possessions of the second period to take Lakeland’s lead to 14-6. Armstrong and Garner combined for 22 points in the first half and Lakeland led 26-16 at halftime.

Lakeland still led by 10 and was still winning the battle of the presses through the first four minutes of the third period.

“We play in spurts. We play two good minutes, but then three bad minutes. When the game’s on the line though, we have the tendency to turn it up a little more,” said King’s Fork head coach Maurice Fofana.

One good spurt was a 6-0 run capped by a foul-line jumper by Whitney Nichols to bring KF within four. Chantel Roberts scored off an offensive rebound and a running shot along the baseline for the last basket of the third period, making it 36-33 Lakeland.

A steal and basket by Nichols made it 39-38 Lakeland. That play was immediately followed with another steal by KF’s press and Kurtisha Ewell making a lay-up to put KF ahead 40-39 with just over five minutes left.

Even with all the momentum belonging to the home team and a loud home crowd, Lakeland was still behind only a point, 44-43, when Armstrong fouled out with 2:26 remaining. Armstrong finished the night with 16 points and 10 rebounds. With Armstrong out, Lakeland scored one point the rest of the way.

The Lady Bulldogs struggled at the foul line overall, shooting 42.1 percent (16-for-38) on the night. In the last couple minutes though, KF did enough to put the game away.

Renikqua Ricks made a pair at the line to make it 47-43 with 1:51 left. Kiara Branch went 2-for-2 with 0:22 left to make it a three-possession KF lead, 51-44.

Nichols led KF with 13 points with five assists, four steals and four rebounds. Roberts had 11 points and 16 rebounds. Ricks had eight points and 16 rebounds. Garner led Lakeland with 17 points.

“We do have to work on turning it up from the beginning,” Fofana said.

“I feel we are confident heading into the tournament. The ladies are finding ways to win. If we can just play hard for 32 minutes, the sky’s the limit for us,” Fofana said.