Lady Bulldogs net SED crown

Published 11:29 pm Friday, February 17, 2012

King’s Fork High School’s Lady Bulldogs brought home the championship in the Southeastern District Tournament Friday at King’s Fork High School, beating Grassfield 70-60 and finishing first in the district for the season with a 21-2 record, 18-1 in the district. Head Coach Maurice Fofana was also named Coach of the Year.

By Tray Mason

“Defense wins championships” may be the more overused cliché in basketball, but it perfectly describes King’s Fork’s girls basketball victory on Friday night.

The Lady Bulldogs (21-2, 18-1) held the opposing Grassfield Grizzlies (19-5, 16-3) to no field goals and just two points in the final 2:25 to claim the school’s second Southeastern District Tournament Championship, 70-60.

Email newsletter signup

“It feels great, as a player I was here, this is my first time as a coach,” said KF head coach Maurice Fofana, “I can’t even express in words how great it feels.”

The Lady Bulldogs fought off a scrappy Grassfield team, which upset Western Branch to make the finals. The Grizzlies trailed by just one point, 54-53, with 5:04 remaining in the fourth quarter.

From that point on, KF would outscore their opponent 16-7 to close out the game.

The Lady Bulldogs defense stepped up at the most important time in the season, forcing the Grizzlies into five turnovers on their last six possessions.

Baskets from Shaikeyla Jordan and Khadedra Croker put the Lady Bulldogs up 62-55 with 2:40 to play in the game. Courtni Williams would give the Lady Grizzlies some hope, answering with a three-point basket.

Grassfield failed to convert any field goals after this point in the game as the Lady Bulldogs turned up their defensive intensity.

A steal from Julissa Riddick led to a layup from Shannell Pope that put KF up 68-58 with a minute remaining, essentially icing the game for the Lady Bulldogs.

“Our defense got complacent once again,” said Fofana, “but we had to tighten up and play a little better defense to finish out the game, and that’s what we did.”

KF got an outstanding individual performance from Croker, who finished with 28 points, 12 rebounds and six blocks. Delisia Sharpe struggled in the second half, scoring only two points, but still finished with 14 points and 14 rebounds.

With the win, the Lady Bulldogs completed a season sweep of SED accolades. Afterwards, they were given their trophy for also being the regular season SED champions. Croker was awarded the Player of the Year Award, while Fofana was awarded Coach of the Year.

“It’s great up until this point, but we can’t sit back and enjoy it yet,” said Fofana. “We still have a long road and a lot of goals that we want to accomplish.”

KF will be back in action again Monday at home versus Churchland in the first round of the Eastern Region Tournament.