King’s Fork holds on against WBHS

Published 8:18 pm Saturday, January 19, 2013

The King’s Fork High School boys’ basketball team allowed Friday’s home game against Western Branch to get closer than it should have in the fourth quarter. Its defense stood firm on the final play, however, to secure a 57-54 win and snap the Bulldogs’ two-game losing streak.

KF head coach Josh Worrell was happy to be back in the win column, but frustrated by his team’s inconsistency.

“Our first three quarters, we played like you’re supposed to,” he said. “It’s just frustrating we can’t keep it for four quarters. I’ve got to figure it out.”

King’s Fork senior guard Rod Parrett goes underneath to get past the Western Branch defender during the Bulldogs’ 57-54 win at home on Friday night. Parrett led the Bulldogs with 16 points in an important win after King’s Fork experienced two tough losses to district rivals earlier in the week.

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The Bulldogs led by six after the first quarter, and that lead grew to 26-16 at halftime. They were able to maintain the lead in a contentious third quarter, entering the fourth up 41-31.

Then, in the last three and a half minutes of the game, the Bruins started closing the gap, coming within six on an inside drive to the hoop. The Bulldogs kept pushing the lead back to seven with baskets from senior guards Rod Parrett and Jacorey Smith and a 2-of-2 visit to the foul line by senior guard Shawn Williams.

Holding a 55-48 lead with 48.3 seconds to go, King’s Fork sent the Bruins to the line, where they cut the lead to five. Three seconds later, Smith was fouled, but made only one free throw. The Bruins again hit two on their next trip to the line, and then Parrett responded with one of two.

“They kept getting closer and closer and closer, and we couldn’t make two free throws,” Worrell said. “We made one out of two, one out of two. If you make two out of two, the game’s over a lot earlier.”

Another Western Branch drive to the hoop put the score at 57-54 with 14.5 seconds remaining.

“I think we were playing not to lose, and I said (to the team), ‘You can never have that thought process in your mind,’” Worrell said.

To get around the Bruins’ full court press on the next possession, the Bulldogs inbounded with a baseball pass that went nearly the entire length of the court, but senior guard Akanni White could not save it.

“They started pressing us, we got shaky with the ball, and we started turning the ball over,” Parrett said of the Bulldogs’ fourth quarter play.

White blanketed the Bruins’ perimeter shooter on the next possession. As the shooter tried to get a good look close to the three-point line, precious seconds ticked off the clock. He still had not found an opening with less than two seconds to go, forcing him to fire a shot from near his waist that missed badly.

Worrell credited White with great defense on the play but focused on the big picture after the game.

Parrett led KF with 16 points. Senior small forward Byron Taylor had 12 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, three steals and two blocks. Smith added 10 points, five rebounds and five assists.

“Disciplined teams win ballgames earlier than this,” he said. “Disciplined teams… win ballgames we lost the past couple nights. Disciplined teams allow themselves to go further in the playoffs, and if we don’t get really better than that, our season is going to be ending shortly.”

To be a disciplined team he said King’s Fork would have “less turnovers, executing what we’re supposed to do defensively, not gambling, staying in front of our guys instead of reaching, just numerous things.”

Avoiding an 0-3 week, the Bulldogs are now focused on finishing the season well, including making sure it does not end anytime soon.

Because of exam week, King’s Fork (12-5, 9-4) will get a short break and return to action on Friday at Oscar Smith.