KF aims to continue streak

Published 8:09 pm Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tre Francisco is the only Bulldog player remaining as a veteran of King’s Fork’s state championship team of two years ago. The Bulldogs are the defending Southeastern District champs and haven’t lost a district game in the season or tournament since Feb. 1, 2008; a streak of 48 victories.

Davante Gardner’s scoring and grabbing boards for Marquette. Jay Copeland’s a power forward who’s already seeing action for Ball State.

Jaquon Parker and Jamar Wertz are in their second years at Cincinnati and Maryland-Baltimore Co., respectively. There are a lot more former Bulldogs now playing at other collegiate levels.

So while King’s Fork’s boys basketball team is the back-to-back Southeastern District champion, a four-time regional tournament participant and only a season removed from winning the state championship, the Bulldogs will be trying to remain favorites while learning on the fly.

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Last year’s 24-3 Bulldog team was led by Gardner, at 6-foot-8, and Copeland, at 6-foot-7. Now with a frontcourt closer to what a usual high school squad has to play with, head coach Joshua Worrell knows everyone on his team will have to pick up the slack.

“All five guys on the court will definitely have to rebound, and do so aggressively. If not, we’re not going to be successful,” Worrell said Monday evening following a scrimmage against Warwick.

The changes really are all over the floor for the Bulldogs. From the 2008-09 state champs, one player, guard Tre Francisco, is the only veteran who remains.

Worrell knows there will be some differences, perhaps even some that turn out to be strengths.

With three or four strings worth of guards and lots of speed, Worrell wants to turn up the pace with this squad.

“We should be able to play high-pressure defense and put pressure on the ball,” Worrell said.

“Hopefully, we’ll play at a faster tempo, but at the same time, this group has to understand that doesn’t always mean getting out on a fast break. We still have to play smart and secure the ball. We can’t go too fast,” he said.

Much of what Worrell coaches stays consistent, no matter who’s playing in the post. Worrell has coached the Bulldogs since the program started in 2004-05. King’s Fork went from 0-22 in its inaugural season to the Eastern Region Tournament in 2006-07 and state champs in 2008-09.

The Bulldogs enter the season with a 48-game winning streak in the Southeastern District. King’s Fork hasn’t lost a district season or tourney game since Feb. 1, 2008.

Maury knocked the Bulldogs out of last year’s regional tournament in the quarterfinals.

“We’re going to run our offense the same way. We’ll see who’s open, get the ball to him and hopefully they can put it in the hoop,” Worrell said.

Zach Johnson, at 6-foot-4, is the Bulldogs’ starting center. Francisco had an increased role last season and will be needed as a main ball handler and scorer now as a senior.

Fred Scott and Jaylen White had big games last season. Both are versatile players who have the size and strength to play inside and shooting range to beyond the three-point line.

Worrell has six sophomores on his roster and “they’re going to play. They’ll have to grow up quick.”

“Even tonight (in the scrimmage) we saw a lot of things we’ll have to learn from. They’re things you might get away with at JV, but not varsity,” Worrell said.

“We’re taking steps,” Worrell said. “We’re making sure we do things right before we go on to other aspects. It’s more important to do small things right and then we’ll keep on coming along.”

The Bulldogs have one more scrimmage, Wednesday evening at Kecoughtan. King’s Fork and the rest of the Southeastern District goes right into district play on Friday, Dec. 3. The Bulldogs open by hosting Grassfield.

2010-11 King’s Fork boys basketball

Head coach – Josh Worrell

Games start at 7:30 p.m. unless noted

  • 12/4 KFHS Tip-off Tournament – 7:15 p.m.
  • 12/7 at Oscar Smith
  • 12/10 at Hickory
  • 12/17 INDIAN RIVER
  • 12/27-29 Hampton U. Christmas Tournament
  • 1/4 at Great Bridge
  • 1/7 DEEP CREEK
  • 1/11 at Lakeland
  • 1/14 at Grassfield
  • 1/18 OSCAR SMITH
  • 1/20 at Nansemond River
  • 1/21 HICKORY
  • 1/28 at Indian River
  • 2/1 at Western Branch
  • 2/4 at Deep Creek
  • 2/8 LAKELAND