Cashing in on experience

Published 9:22 pm Saturday, December 29, 2012

Sports Reporter’s Notebook

When a basketball team hosts a tournament, one of the typical motivations is to help raise funds for the team or school athletic department. King’s Fork has hosted two basketball tournaments this season, but Bulldogs head coach Josh Worrell has shrewdly made them worth far more to the Bulldogs than a few extra dollars in the budget.

Worrell designed the King’s Fork Showcase/Tip-Off Tournament that took place at the beginning of December to provide his and other top quality regional teams with a good test early in the year. The Bulldogs lost 79-70 to Norcom in that event, but the upswing in their season followed shortly thereafter.

Last week, KF held the second annual Bulldog Christmas Tournament, featuring two teams from each district in the Eastern Region.

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“We’re playing tough competition that we could possibly see at the regional tournament – if we’re able to get there — every game,” he said. “There’s not going to be, ‘OK, we got the easy game this game.’ It’s a regional competition game every game. And it’s back-to-back-to-back, so it’s like a regional situation where you have to turn around and play. You don’t have time to prep it. You just got to do your stuff well.”

By Friday evening, the Bulldogs had fought their way through two close games against Menchville and Kellam to win by 11 and 13 points, respectively. Those wins advanced them to the championship game, which they did not reach the year before.

While Nansemond-Suffolk Academy graduate Gabrielle Bishop is excelling in the pool at Virginia Tech as a freshman, but what might be surprising is that much of the challenge her swim training poses comes from outside of the pool.

“Every day, Gabrielle is doing something out of the water,” Virginia Tech swimming head coach Ned Skinner said. “So, for example, on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, she’s lifting weights (in a) very structured, intense weight program with a strength and conditioning coach from 2 to 3 p.m.”

“On Tuesday, Thursday, she’s also, for the first 45 minutes of practice, doing what we call ‘med balls’ and agility and abs and biometric work,” he said.

Bishop is required to perform various activities with a six-pound medicine ball, also known as an exercise ball, including sit-ups and push-ups, which can be quite strenuous.

“So, for her to be able to take all this soreness, as I call it, and she gets broken down, but still be able to race hard and perform well and be one of our top performers in her events, is very impressive,” Skinner said.

King’s Fork basketball coaches Josh Worrell and Theotis Porter recently had the opportunity to see some of their former players perform on the collegiate level locally.

Porter was in attendance at the Dec. 20 game in Newport News between The Apprentice School and Fisher College of Boston, Mass. to see senior forward Kyndal Jones and sophomore forward Curtis Roberts play on the visiting team. Both Jones and Roberts were on King’s Fork’s state championship team in the 2008-09 season.

Though neither Jones nor Roberts start for the Falcons, they both get minutes, and Porter put this accomplishment in perspective.

“I’m proud of them, and they stuck with it, because a lot of guys, not just a lot of guys in the area, but just a lot of guys that go to college, they don’t stick with it because it’s too hard,” he said. “They persevered through it, so I’m definitely happy for the guys.”

“It always brings a little piece of satisfaction to you to see the guys excelling at the next level,” he said.