Indian River outlasts King’s Fork

Published 10:27 pm Monday, December 20, 2010

CHESAPEAKE — Indian River, the defending Southeastern District champs, outlasted King’s Fork’s girls basketball squad in a hectic, physical contest for a 50-43 win Monday night at Indian River.

For the many seasons the Lady Braves have been atop or near the top of the Southeastern District, tough, active, usually full-court defense has been their staple.

It took a few KF baskets and a couple timeouts from the Lady Brave bench, but after an easy-looking start for the visitors, Indian River turned up the defense the rest of the way.

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Guard Brittany Alston and center Khadedra Croker formed an excellent combo for King’s Fork in the opening minutes. Alston’s driving to the hoop repeatedly set up her own points or passes, usually to Croker, for open shots.

The Lady Bulldogs moved out to a 12-6 lead only for Indian River to gain a 13-12 lead by the end of the first period. It took KF until the latter stages of the third period to put 12 more points on the board.

After the relaxed pace to start, the Lady Braves turned mostly to a full-court zone and constantly, even when not pressing, trapped and hassled the Lady Bulldogs all over the sidelines and corners.

The Lady Bulldogs managed one made field goal in the second period. Only 3-for-4 shooting at the line by Croker in the last 0:19 of the half kept KF close, down only 24-17 at halftime.

Croker’s defense was huge for KF as well. She controlled nearly everything within a few feet of the basket, finishing the night with 16 rebounds and eight blocks.

KF surged to within a possession multiple times in the second half.

Chelsea Robinson’s three-pointer, followed by Robinson going 1-for-2 at the line on the next KF possession, cut IR’s lead to 26-25 with 3:19 left in the third.

The Lady Braves stretched their lead out again only for Croker to score a three-point play after an offensive board to make it 31-28 IR going to the fourth period.

IR built a 45-36 lead midway through the fourth and its pressure defense seemed to causing too many KF mistakes.

Kurtisha Ewell hit a three-pointer with 3:20 to go. A minute-long Lady Brave possession ended in a turnover followed by Whitney Nichols making two at the line.

KF’s pressing forced Indian River into a quick, poor shot and the rebound turned into a scrum in the lane. Nichols, after fighting to gain the ball in the pile, pushed the ball out to Robinson for a fast break. Alston finished the break with a lay-up, making it 45-43 IR with 1:30 and counting.

KF forced IR to speed up again, but this time the Lady Braves broke KF’s press and hit a three-pointer. The Lady Bulldogs weren’t able to get within a one-possession margin again.

Croker led KF with 12 points. Robinson had six. Taquandrea Wilson, Ewell and Alston had five points each. Indian River shot 26.8 percent from the field (19-for-71) but held KF to 21.5 percent shooting (14-for-65).

King’s Fork (2-4, 2-3) goes back on the road Tuesday evening to face Western Branch at 7:30 p.m.