KFHS girls look for big season

Published 7:55 pm Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Varsity Lady Bulldogs basketball coach Maurice Fofana works with his team during preseason practice at King's Fork High School to help prepare them for the 2012-13 season.

The upcoming varsity basketball season looks bright for the King’s Fork High School Lady Bulldogs, who return most of the squad that went 22-3 last year and advanced to the second round of the Eastern Region tournament.

The Bulldogs were even stronger within the Southeastern District.

“Nobody really picked us to be the favorite in the district, but we finished 17-1, won the district tournament, and then we moved on to the regionals,” head coach Maurice Fofana said.

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By now, it is clear that King’s Fork basketball has an established tradition of excellence, not only on the boys’ side, but also on the girls’.

“In the four years I’ve been here, we’ve made the district tournament every year, and the last two years we’ve had an appearance in the regional (tournament),” Fofana said.

The 2012-13 squad lost three seniors from last season, only one of whom was a starter.

“So I really have a lot of kids that’s returning, at least eight or nine kids that’s returning from last year,” Fofana said.

Consequently, expectations are quite high.

“Expectations will be, I would think, to repeat again as winning the district,” Fofana said. “Expectation is starting there — to remain healthy will be a key for us — and to go much deeper than we went last year.”

Health became a major issue near the end of the 2011-12 season, when junior wing Chantel Roberts tore her anterior cruciate ligament in the fourth quarter of the regional tournament game against Princess Anne. Roberts had been a key leader for the team.

“So losing her and then us losing by (four) points to Princess Anne, which went on to lose in the state championship, was kind of big for us,” Fofana said.

Roberts is back this year as a senior, and Fofana hopes she can pick up where she left off. Roberts strongly benefits the team with her impressive range.

“She’s a great piece of the puzzle of what we do,” he said. “Her size, she’s about 5’10”, she can play underneath, she can play (point guard), she plays (shooting guard), she can play all four positions (outside of center).”

Junior 6’3” center Khadedra Croker will continue to be a major force for the Lady Bulldogs as well, even more so with another year of experience under her belt.

“Last year, she averaged a double-double in all of our games,” Fofana said. “In 25 games that we played, she had a double-double in every game. She had 12 triple-doubles.”

Croker’s double-figure statistical achievements typically came in the categories of rebounds, blocks and points.

Fofana also will be counting on senior shooting guard Shaikeyla Jordan for increased offensive production.

“She averaged about 10 points last year, and (I’m) looking for her to kind of pick that up some,” he said.

Jordan’s contributions will be important along with those of the other half of the backcourt, junior point guard Brittany Alston.

“She averages about maybe three steals a game, five rebounds, and about nine assists per game,” Fofana said.

He also highlighted senior Julissa Riddick as the team’s defensive stopper.

“She’s a 5’10” swing guard,” he said. “Long, lanky kid, top defender, can score. Night-in and night-out she may start underneath the basket, but she ends up playing the top player on our opposing team.”

The first game of the season for the Lady Bulldogs will be at home against Deep Creek on Nov. 27.