Bulldogs finish off Great Bridge in OT

Published 11:29 pm Tuesday, January 4, 2011

King’s Fork’s Jacorey Smith goes to the hoop in the second half of Tuesday night’s Southeastern District game at Great Bridge. The Bulldogs pulled out a 59-55 overtime victory.

CHESAPEAKE — It’ll count just once in the standings but King’s Fork’s boys basketball team is certain it won Tuesday night’s Southeastern District contest at Great Bridge twice.

The Bulldogs (7-3, 5-2) came away from the road test with a 59-55 victory in overtime despite a crazy offensive show by Great Bridge guard Taj Owens, who scored 23 of his 27 points in the second half.

King’s Fork led most of the game and thought it had survived to get by the Wildcats and Owens in the final second of regulation.

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After a Wildcat three-pointer tied the score, 50-50, with 0:12 and counting, the Bulldogs raced down the court. Fred Scott’s jumper went in and out and Jaylen White’s rebound and putback seemed to beat the buzzer.

The Bulldog bench and fans were sure of it. The initial call on the court to let the hoop stand was reversed after a conference by the officials, sending the game to four more minutes.

Again, the Bulldogs led throughout the extra period but it was far from easy to finish off the Wildcats.

Tre Francisco’s three-point play gave KF a 53-50 lead one possession into overtime. The Bulldogs didn’t score again until Jacorey Smith made two at the line with 1:20 left, which was still good for a 55-52 KF edge.

King’s Fork turned away two Wildcat possessions, one with center Zach Johnson getting a blocked shot on a Wildcat drive into the paint and the next ending with a Scott rebound, dribble out of a trap and outlet to Johnson for a lay-up and a 57-52 KF lead with 9.8 seconds left.

Johnson led the Bulldogs with 16 points and the way the evening started the Bulldogs would’ve loved to get even more from their main post player.

After two early buckets by Johnson and with KF ahead 15-10 early in the second period Johnson wound up with two fouls and spent the rest of the half on the bench.

King’s Fork continued stretching its lead though. Donte Ralph’s three-point play inside, two Francisco free throws and a Scott three-pointer gave the Bulldogs a 25-12 lead and KF led 25-14 at halftime.

The Bulldogs scored the first four points of the second half but managed only four more points in the last six minutes of the third period.

Owens started lighting it up from anywhere within 23 feet of the basket late in the third period and the Wildcats trailed 33-25 going to the fourth.

Owens, a slender guard, created his own shots going off the dribble, often to seemingly off-balance jumpers, and made most of them, even with the Bulldog defense in his face.

Even with Owens keeping the Wildcats in reach, King’s Fork looked as though it would hold on. Smith scored off a rebound, then drove and dished to Scott for a short jumper, to stretch KF’s lead to 40-32 nearing the midway point of the fourth. A Johnson three-point play in the post, again off a Smith assist, made it 43-34 KF.

Owens hit a three and tipped in an offensive board to bring Great Bridge within 45-41 with 2:29 to go. He scrambled for an offensive rebound, posted up a Bulldog defender and hit a turn-around 10-footer while being fouled. He finished the three-point play to make it 49-47 KF with 1:10 left.

The Wildcats missed a chance to tie or go ahead as Owens pushed off while with the dribble for his fifth foul of the game, disqualifying him with 0:49 left.

Francisco made 1-of-2 at the line with 0:31 left, leaving Great Bridge within a possession. A Wildcat three tied the score. Great Bridge (4-3, 3-3) matched its offensive total from the first three periods in the fourth quarter.

King’s Fork’s other two double-figure scorers, Scott with 13 points and Francisco with 10, came off the bench. Johnson led the Bulldogs with six rebounds. Francisco added five boards and three assists.

King’s Fork returns to its home court for the first time in almost three weeks Friday night with a visit by Deep Creek.