Bulldogs battle for 2-0 start

Published 8:46 pm Monday, December 6, 2010

King’s Fork’s Tre Francisco scored 11 of his 13 points in the second half as the Bulldogs beat visiting Green Run 56-50 Saturday night. The Bulldogs (2-0) go to Oscar Smith Tuesday evening.

King’s Fork and Lakeland struggled for long portions of Saturday night’s boys basketball games at King’s Fork.

King’s Fork, the back-to-back Southeastern District champs and Eastern Region Tournament qualifier four years running, did enough to pull out a 56-50 victory over Green Run for KF’s second close win in its first two contests this season.

Lakeland, coming off a season with only a handful of wins, made a furious rally in the last quarter but couldn’t make it all the way back in a 41-36 loss to Warwick for the second close Cavalier loss in two nights.

Email newsletter signup

The Cavaliers and Raiders played the first game of the KFHS Tip-Off Tournament doubleheader. Turnovers and hurried shots plagued Lakeland through the first three quarters.

It took 6:10 for Josh Beck’s steal and lay-up to get the Cavaliers on the board. Even with the drought Lakeland trailed 4-2 at that point and 6-3 after one period.

The Cavs’ defensive hustle kept them in the game even with nothing going right on the offensive end, where perhaps too much effort was part of the problem. Warwick’s pressing, trapping defense was tough, but many Lakeland possessions ended with errant passes or difficult shots after breaking the press.

Warwick shut out Lakeland for the first 7:12 of the second half. Lakeland made 3-of-24 field goal attempts in the first three quarters and Warwick led 30-12.

Lakeland suddenly hit shots from everywhere in the fourth period and had chances to pull ahead in the last three minutes.

Beck and Marichal Walden hit three-pointers in the first 1:20 of the quarter. Lakeland forced Warwick turnovers on nearly every possession and the Cavs squandered a couple fast breaks.

The momentum had clearly turned though and with Rodney Goodman’s three-pointer, Lakeland got within 31-25 and had scored more points in the first 4:30 of the fourth quarter than in the first three quarters.

A steal led to Antonio Jefferson’s three-pointer a few seconds later. Warwick couldn’t break midcourt on its next possession either but Beck had an open trey go in and out.

Dwight Jefferson hit two free throws to make it 35-34 Warwick with 1:18 to go. After a Warwick basket, Goodman missed a three-pointer. Two Raider free throws made it a two-possession game the rest of the way.

Beck and Goodman led Lakeland with 10 points each. Walden added eight points, nine rebounds and four steals.

Lakeland goes back into district play Tuesday with a trip to Indian River.

King’s Fork’s first few minutes against Green Run were just as trying. Tre Francisco’s free throws made it 6-2 Green Run with 3:43 to go in the first quarter and Green Run led 10-6 after a period.

Zach Johnson’s work around the basket kept the Bulldogs in the game in the first half. After a 36-point performance in KF’s opening win over Grassfield Friday, Johnson, a 6-foot-4 center, grabbed all sorts of offensive rebounds, even off his own misses, to have 11 points and 10 rebounds by halftime Saturday.

The Stallions led 20-18 at the half and the sides traded small leads in the third period. Tre Francisco was the main spark to the Bulldog offense as he scored 11 of his 13 points in the second half.

Reserve guard Rod Parrett hit a pair of threes in the period, both putting the Bulldogs in front. The Stallions scored the last six points of the quarter to take a 40-38 lead.

Jacorey Smith made baskets, one driving jumper in the lane and one put-back off a rebound, on back-to-back KF possessions early in the fourth to put KF up 46-44.

Parrett answered a Stallion three with his third trey of the second half, making it 49-47 KF. Johnson made two at the line to put KF up 51-49 with 3:04 left.

Jaylen White came up with big plays on both ends of the court to preserve the lead in the last 45 seconds. KF passed through Green Run’s press and White finished the break with a lay-in for a 55-50 KF lead. White corralled a rebound off a Stallion three-point miss with 0:20 and counting.

Johnson led the Bulldogs with 16 points and 13 boards. Fred Scott added five points, four assists and four rebounds.

The Bulldogs face their first road game of the season Tuesday night at Oscar Smith.