KF hoops rematch, reunion set

Published 10:10 pm Wednesday, November 16, 2011

King’s Fork’s JaQuon Parker, now a junior playing at the University of Cincinnati, goes to the basket during the state semifinal game against Petersburg in March 2009. The Bulldogs beat the Crimson Wave 73-67 and went on to win the 2008-09 VHSL Group AAA state championship. King’s Fork and Petersburg will meet for the first time since 2009 in the King’s Fork Basketball Showcase on Saturday, Dec. 3 at 7 p.m. in The Kennel.

King’s Fork’s Kennel is always busy during basketball season. The Kennel will be the site for two big hoop events in December, the KFHS Basketball Showcase with 14 schools, including KF and Lakeland, in action on Saturday, Dec. 3, and the King’s Fork Christmas Classic with eight Eastern Region squads playing Dec. 27-29.

One of the marquee match-ups of the Showcase will be a rematch of a memorable state semifinal game played at a sold out Siegel Center in Richmond three seasons ago.

The host Bulldogs will meet Petersburg at 7 p.m. in the next-to-last game of the night. It’ll be the first contest between KF and the Crimson Wave since a 73-67 Bulldog victory in the 2008-09 VHSL Group AAA State Tournament.

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It was Petersburg’s only loss that season. King’s Fork won the state championship, its first state title in the program’s fifth season, a couple of nights later in Richmond.

Enough of the past, though, because facing Petersburg will tell King’s Fork head coach Joshua Worrell a lot about this year’s Bulldog team.

“We know it’ll be tough competition and that’s what we want to see early in the season. If we’re not ready to play, it’ll show quick,” Worrell said.

King’s Fork has its season opener the night before, on Dec. 2, against Deep Creek in The Kennel. The next district date after the Showcase will be equally intense. The Bulldogs host Nansemond River the following Tuesday night.

It’ll also be an interesting test for the Crimson Wave, who enter this season under new head coach Rick Hite. Hite is replacing Bill Lawson III, now Petersburg’s athletic director. The Crimson Wave has reached four consecutive state tournaments.

Lakeland will take on Southampton in the first session of the day in the Showcase, tipping off after Hertford County (N.C.) and Warwick get action going at 10 a.m.

The first session of the showcase will be four games, wrapping up around 4 p.m. The gym will be cleared out and the second session will tip with Booker T. Washington vs. Highland Springs at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 per session.

“We’re trying to bring excellent basketball to the area and see if local teams can play with the best of the best,” Worrell said.

The finale will feature two of the most talented prep programs in the nation. It’ll also be a reunion, even though it’ll be the one game of the Showcase without a local school on the court, IMG Academy from Bradenton, Fla. against Blue Ridge School.

IMG Academy is coached by Lakeland alum and former Cavalier basketball standout Vince Walden.

Walden graduated from Lakeland in 1994. Worrell, now coaching a city rival, albeit one that didn’t exist yet when he was a Cavalier, was a teammate with Walden and graduated from Lakeland in 1996.

After his Cavalier career, Walden was a four-year letterman and three-year team captain at Longwood, where he was one of the best three-point shooters in Lancer basketball history.

Walden’s been the coach of IMG Academy’s Men’s National Team since 2006. He’s also the Academy’s Director of Student Development. The team GPA is 3.36 during Walden’s tenure as head coach.

Later in December, the King’s Fork Christmas Classic will feature two schools from each district in the Eastern Region for three days of quadruple-headers in The Kennel.

King’s Fork and Oscar Smith will represent the Southeastern. Menchville and Woodside will come from the Peninsula. The Eastern District will send Churchland and Granby; with Salem and Tallwood coming from the Beach.

King’s Fork Basketball Showcase

Saturday, Dec. 3

Session 1

Warwick vs. Hertford County (N.C.) – 10 a.m.

Lakeland vs. Southampton – 11:30 a.m.

Kellam vs. Massanutten Military Academy – 1 p.m.

Landstown vs. Brunswick – 2:30 p.m.

Session 2

Booker T. Washington vs. Highland Springs – 5:30 p.m.

Petersburg at King’s Fork – 7 p.m.

Blue Ridge School vs. IMG Academy (Fla.) – 8:30 p.m.


King’s Fork Christmas Classic

Tuesday, Dec. 27

Salem vs. Menchville – 2 p.m.

Oscar Smith vs. Granby – 4 p.m.

Tallwood vs. Menchville – 6 p.m.

Churchland at King’s Fork – 8 p.m.

Dec. 28-29

Games at 2, 4, 6 and 8 p.m. at King’s Fork