Lady Bulldogs don’t ease into season

Published 10:46 pm Wednesday, December 1, 2010

High scorer: King’s Fork’s Taquandrea Wilson scored a team-high 15 points as KF opened its season at perennial region power Wilson Wednesday night. Wilson beat the Lady Bulldogs 53-42. KF has its first district game Friday night.

PORTSMOUTH—One game into the brand-new basketball season, consider King’s Fork’s girls squad already well-tested.

The Lady Bulldogs opened up at perennial regional contender Wilson Wednesday and withstood a frantic, physical contest down to the final couple minutes. The Lady Presidents scored the last nine points of the game to put KF away 53-42.

Last season, first-year head coach Maurice Fofana and a young team started 1-7 before going 9-5 from Dec. 29 on and moving up to fourth in the Southeastern District.

Email newsletter signup

For four seasons, the Lady Bulldogs could rely on TaShauna “Sugar” Rodgers, who’s now a star guard at Georgetown with Big East Freshman of the Year and All-Big East honors already earned.

Life after Sugar was a learning experience last winter, but the Lady Bulldogs learned quickly and evolved into a team that got valuable play from many players.

Wilson’s defense and athleticism seemed to be too much for the Lady Bulldogs early. The Lady Presidents led comfortably through the first half after getting out to a 12-2 lead.

Work in the paint by center Khadedra Croker kept KF within shouting distance in the second period.

Croker was a force on both ends, finishing with a triple-double of 11 points, 15 rebounds and 10 blocked shots. She scored six points in the second quarter and without her blocks, Wilson would’ve led by more than its 25-15 halftime edge.

The Lady Bulldogs fought back into the game late in the third period by turning the defensive pressure around on Wilson.

Steals and breaking the Lady President trapping defense led to KF fast breaks. Croker finished Whitney Nichols’ long pass for a three-point play. Taquandrea Wilson followed with a three-pointer in transition to cut Wilson’s lead to 35-30 with 1:20 left in the third.

Wilson converted Desirea Johnson’s steal and fast break into a lay-up for the first basket of the fourth period, cutting the Lady President lead to four.

Johnson drained a trey to bring KF within 40-39 with 5:42 to go. KF had three possessions with the chance to take the lead but never moved in front.

The Lady Presidents scored on back-to-back trips as the clock neared two minutes left to boost their lead to 48-42.

Monnazjea Finney-Smith led the Lady Presidents with 15 points despite missing most of the middle two quarters due to foul trouble. Point guard Tiyanna Burwell scored 11 of her 12 points in the second half.

Wilson scored 12 of her KF-high 15 points in the second half and had five steals. Johnson added eight points, four steals and three assists.

The Lady Bulldogs open Southeastern District play Friday at Grassfield.