Lady Bulldogs look to keep momentum

Published 9:54 pm Friday, November 25, 2011

Last season as freshman, King’s Fork’s Khadedra Croker averaged 11 points, 11.2 rebounds and 8.2 blocked shots a game. The Lady Bulldogs went 13-12 and reached the Eastern Region Tournament last season.

King’s Fork’s girls basketball team improved more than any other Southeastern District squad as last season played out. The Lady Bulldogs won eight of their last 10 regular season games, then knocked off Indian River to earn an Eastern Region Tournament spot.

Some of the momentum should carry over as the new basketball season gets going next week, but some of it also graduated and will have to be regained, said Lady Bulldog head coach Maurice Fofana.

Fofana had three seniors, his whole starting backcourt, lead his squad to the big turnaround last season as King’s Fork finished with a 13-12 record.

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“Each year, we’ve been a little better,” said Fofana, now in his third season with the Lady Bulldogs. “My first year, we finished seventh. Last year we were fourth. Each year we progress and get a little better. This year it’s our goal to move up a little further.”

Every Lady Bulldog opponent will be able to see KF’s main strength as soon as the Lady Bulldogs take the court for warm-ups.

Sophomore Khadedra Croker, at 6-foot-4, was a dominant rebounder, shot blocker and all-around defender last year in her first varsity season. Croker tallied 12 triple-doubles last season.

The Lady Bulldogs will be even bigger thanks to senior Delisha Sharpe’s transfer from city rival Nansemond River, where she was an all-Southeastern District center, to King’s Fork.

Sharpe, at 6-foot-3, averaged 16.3 points and 12.4 rebounds per game with the Lady Warriors. Croker averaged 11.0 points, 11.2 rebounds and 8.2 blocks as a KF freshman.

Fofana said having Croker and Sharpe on the court at the same time won’t be a problem. Croker can give Coach Fofana the luxury of a 6-foot-4 forward.

“She’s worked to become much more versatile. She can step out to 15 feet and shoot or put the ball down,” Fofana said.

Even with her natural ability, Fofana says Croker is one of the hardest working players he’s coached.

“She’s not a coaster. She’ll always give 100 percent and, even though she’s still young, she makes sure, in a positive way, the other girls are giving the same, too.”

With Croker at power forward, it moves returning power forward Chantel Roberts to a wing spot. Fofana thinks this helps the team overall as well.

Roberts, as a sophomore last year, battled a knee injury but returned to play a major role in how the Lady Bulldogs finished the season.

“At the next level, she’ll probably need to be a guard, so this can help Chantel a lot,” Fofana said.

“She’s been working a lot, working on her handle and her jump shot,” he said.

“This year, we think we can start strong and we’re more confident now,” Roberts said.

“I think we’ll be able to press more on defense. We have a lot of guards who can run,” Croker said.

The Lady Bulldogs open up their season and their district campaign on Friday, Dec. 2 at Deep Creek, followed the next Tuesday with a city game at Nansemond River — for a matchup between two of the district’s top four and regional-qualifying squads a season ago.

KF’s non-district schedule includes a date at Princess Anne on Dec. 19. PA won the Group AAA state championship with a 31-1 record last season.