Bulldogs get a dramatic win

Published 10:57 pm Wednesday, January 9, 2013

King's Fork senior guard Rod Parrett maintains possession of the ball during the last minutes of the game against host Lakeland on Tuesday night. Parrett scored the go-ahead basket and later added two free throws to arrive at the final score of 48-45, the Bulldogs' ninth straight win.

Lakeland High School played host to a dramatic battle with King’s Fork High School that came down to the final minute of play, when the Bulldogs ultimately prevailed 48-45 in front of a packed house Tuesday.

“I wasn’t expecting to win by more than maybe 10 or 11 points, because I know a rivalry game is going to be like that,” KF head boys’ basketball coach Josh Worrell said. “They’re going to play with more intensity, they’re going to play harder to try to beat us. We just persevered there at the end and did the things we needed to do the last two and a half, three minutes to win the ballgame.”

The Cavaliers led 45-44 when Bulldogs senior guard Rod Parrett was fouled on a successful layup attempt with 1:21 remaining. Parrett missed the free throw, but KF got the rebound, and senior guard Jacorey Smith and Parrett took precious time off the clock by holding onto the ball. Worrell was proud of his seniors’ play.

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“They did a great job taking care of the basketball in the last three minutes, not turning the ball over,” he said.

Parrett was eventually fouled again with 40.1 seconds to go and made both free throws to make it 48-45. Lakeland was not able to cash in on visits to the line, cementing the final score.

Lakeland head coach Clint Wright thought his team was prepared, and it looked like the Cavaliers could defeat one of the top teams in the district until the end.

“We had an idea of what it was we wanted to do,” he said. “I told the guys in the locker room that we’re not good enough yet to capitalize on some of the mistakes that we’re making. We’re on our way, though, we’re on our way. And that was the difference. We both made mistakes. We both turned the basketball over. They were simply able to capitalize on our turnovers, and we were not.”

The game had been close throughout. King’s Fork held a 14-10 lead after the first quarter and a 22-18 lead at halftime. Lakeland was at its most threatening in a contentious third quarter. Freshman forward Deonta Knight scored a basket while being fouled to tie, missed the free throw, but then ended up scoring down low seconds later to make it 26-24.

Later on, Cavaliers freshman guard Jaquan Yulee scored to give Lakeland a 32-27 edge, but the Bulldogs tied it 37-37 going into the fourth.

“We got up, they didn’t waver, they stuck with their guns,” Wright said. “When we got up, we kind of got away from some of the things that we really wanted to do and it was a learning process.”

Parrett, who finished with a team-leading 21 points and four steals and is a veteran of close games, described where this one ranks.

“On a scale of one to ten, about a nine,” he said.

Senior small forward Byron Taylor had nine points, eight rebounds, five assists and two blocks. Jacorey Smith ended up with seven points, seven rebounds, five assists, three steals and two blocks.

With 14 points and 15 rebounds, Lakeland’s Yulee reflected after the game about free throws that he and others missed.

“Man, if we had those free throws, we would have at least beat them by two or three,” he said. “We just got to get better at it.”

Worrell said the Bulldogs’ nine-game winning streak is a commentary on the entire team.

“It just means that every person on that bench is a piece to the puzzle,” he said.

Wright observed more progress for Lakeland.

“We’re gradually starting to make some headway in this district in order to get in place,” he said.

King’s Fork (10-3, 7-2) will be at home on Friday playing against Deep Creek. On the same night, Lakeland (6-8, 3-6) will host Hickory.