Bench boosts Lady Bulldogs

Published 10:26 pm Wednesday, February 16, 2011

King’s Fork senior Chelsea Robinson scored a team-high 11 points to lead the Lady Bulldogs in a 46-40 win over Indian River in the Southeastern District quarterfinals Tuesday night. King’s Fork (13-10) will meet No. 1 Western Branch in the tourney semifinals Thursday at 7:45 p.m. at King’s Fork.

CHESAPEAKE — King’s Fork used a 16-1 run during a seven-minute stretch of the third and fourth quarters to keep its girls basketball season going with a 46-40 victory over Indian River in the Southeastern District Tournament quarterfinals Tuesday night at Western Branch.

The rally was sparked from an unlikely source, at least at first glance, as three Lady Bulldog reserves, Brittnay Alston, Desirea Johnson and Chelsea Robinson, played major roles in the final stretches of the contest and combined for 25 of KF’s 46 points.

King’s Fork head coach Maurice Fofana knows what he has when he turns to his substitutes.

Email newsletter signup

“The girls who come off the bench are normally in the rotation for us a lot,” Fofana said.

“They normally do a very good job,” he said. “Tonight, the kids off the bench played really good defense and that was the real key.”

KF’s victory combined with top-seeded Western Branch winning later Tuesday night puts the Lady Bulldogs into the Eastern Region Tournament.

The No. 5 Lady Bulldogs (13-10) and No. 4 Lady Braves traded blows through the first half.

Indian River took away KF’s standout freshman center Khadedra Croker with a sagging zone defense that effectively double-teamed the 6-foot-3 Croker whether she had the ball or not.

Croker was still a force defensively, totaling 12 rebounds and eight blocked shots, but the Lady Braves held her to five points.

Spurts of good outside shooting kept the Lady Bulldogs close. Alston and Johnson hit jumpers toward the end of the first period, with Johnson’s coming from three-point range and giving KF a 12-7 lead.

Indian River scored the last six points of the first half to take a 22-18 lead.

KF’s rally started, from a 32-26 deficit, in the closing seconds of the third period.

Taquandrea Wilson gathered Chantel Roberts’ outlet pass and finished a lay-up. After forcing a Lady Brave turnover, a KF inbounds play led to Johnson draining a three-pointer from the right corner a couple seconds before the horn.

KF drew even with Robinson making a 12-foot jumper while being fouled. Robinson made the free throw to put KF up 34-33 with 6:06 remaining.

With KF leading and the fourth quarter running out, Indian River had to turn up its defensive pressure.

Indian River’s trapping caused a few miscues, but it also led to the Lady Bulldogs finding open teammates for easy points.

Alston scored a lay-up off a dish by Whitney Nichols to make it 40-33, and KF’s next break down the court ended with Robinson making a 15-foot jumper along the baseline for a 42-33 KF lead with 2:31 remaining.

Robinson led KF with 11 points to go with five rebounds and three steals. Alston had eight points and four steals.

“Our defense really picked up in the second half and we executed much better than in the first half,” Fofana said.

“It was definitely a team effort tonight,” he said.

King’s Fork is the site for the semifinals and final of the district tourney so the Lady Bulldogs will be on their home floor Thursday evening.

Nansemond River plays Grassfield in the first semifinal at 6 p.m. and KF meets Western Branch in game two.