No. 1 W. Branch edges Lady Bulldogs in OT

Published 11:39 pm Thursday, February 17, 2011

King’s Fork pushed No. 1 Western Branch to the wire and past it. It still wasn’t enough, though. The Southeastern District season champs reached the district tournament final with a 53-48 overtime win over the No. 5 Lady Bulldogs (13-11) Thursday night at King’s Fork.

King’s Fork got out to a confident start and led nearly all the way through regulation.

Western Branch (22-2), playing without standout 6-foot-2 forward Dalishia Griffin due to an injury, didn’t have a lead until 2:21 remaining in the fourth quarter.

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The Lady Bruins opened overtime to back-to-back baskets, and the Lady Bulldogs ran out of offense in the final few minutes.

King’s Fork had no such problem opening the game. The Lady Bulldogs scored the first five points of the game and increased their lead to 13-6 on Khadedra Croker’s second putback hoop of the first period.

Croker, KF’s 6-foot-3 freshman, turned in yet another big game inside, as she has in most games throughout the Lady Bulldog season. She finished with 11 points, 14 rebounds and six blocks.

Croker grabbed another offensive board and scored to make KF’s lead 22-16 a little more than a minute into the second period.

Whitney Nichols turned a steal into a fast-break lay-up, and Chelsea Robinson drained a baseline jumper to run KF’s lead to 26-16.

Forward Chantel Roberts teamed up with Croker inside and added eight points and five rebounds in the first half.

The Lady Bruins cut KF’s lead down to 30-26 by halftime. The Lady Bulldogs kept their advantage between four and eight points through the third period until a Lady Bruin basket at the horn made it 38-36 KF going to the fourth.

No one scored for the first 2:04 of the fourth, until a Nichols free throw for KF.

Western Branch gained a 45-43 lead and the teams went back and forth with empty possessions until Croker scored with a move in the low post with 1:19 left.

KF had two promising chances to get the go-ahead basket. Robinson missed a jump shot with 0:35 and counting.

After a Lady Bruin three-pointer missed seconds later, KF got the rebound and broke down the court at full speed. Brittnay Alston was whistled for a charging call on her drive into the lane.

The Lady Bruins gained a 49-45 lead in the overtime period. Taquandrea Wilson’s three-pointer made it 49-48 but it was the only Lady Bulldog basket in the four-minute OT.

Roberts led KF with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Wilson added eight points.

Alexis McKay scored 15 of her team-high 18 points in the second half or overtime for the Lady Bruins.

The Lady Bulldogs continue on into the Eastern Region Tournament, which starts Monday evening.