KFHS girls win in OT

Published 10:17 pm Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The King’s Fork Lady Bulldogs trailed for three quarters against the speedy visitors from Indian River on Tuesday. Then they came back in the fourth quarter and overtime to claim a dramatic 69-62 win.

KF’s dominant power forward/center Khadedra Croker was held out of the game for the first three quarters for disciplinary reasons.

King's Fork senior wing Adrieanna McCrary sinks this jumper during the Lady Bulldogs' 69-62 overtime victory over the visiting Indian River Lady Braves. McCrary led her team with 23 points, nine rebounds and five steals to go with four assists.

“We allowed (Indian River) to hang around because we were waiting for Khadedra to come in the game,” Lady Bulldogs head coach Maurice Fofana said.

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This was not what Fofana wanted, but the score told the story. KF trailed by 11 at halftime and was still behind by six entering the fourth quarter.

The team struggled from the field, going 9-of-33 in the first half.

“We were pretty much getting all the shots that we wanted, we just weren’t making any,” Fofana said.

KF suffered on the other end of the court without Croker.

“I think a lot of what my kids rely on now is Khadedra being there to help out on defense,” Fofana said. “It’s a lot easier to push up and play the style that we play because we know, ‘OK, if I get beat up top, I have help on my back side.’ Well, not having help on your back side, they saw tonight, was much tougher than what they thought. You have to stay in front of your man actually 84 feet (of the court).”

Foul trouble also was an issue, putting Fofana in a position where he needed to play everyone on his bench.

Though the Lady Bulldogs were trailing 43-37 at the start of the fourth, when Croker entered the game, her impact was substantial.

“Once she came in, you could see it just kind of sparked the team on and it made it a different game,” Fofana said.

Within three minutes, KF had the lead. A Croker free throw made it 43-38. This was followed by a drive to the hoop by senior wing Adrieanna McCrary, plus a foul shot, since she was hit on the way there. Another Croker free throw and senior small forward Julissa Riddick’s fast break basket made it 44-43.

The Lady Bulldogs had trouble holding onto the lead, though. They had a 54-48 advantage with around three minutes to play, but it was tied nearly 30 seconds later. They led 58-54 with less than a minute to go, but Indian River scored with 27.2 seconds on the clock.

KF turned the ball over and fouled Indian River with 18.6 to go. The Lady Braves player sunk two free throws, knotting the game at 58. KF again turned the ball over on the inbounds pass. IR was able to fire off another shot, but Croker rebounded as time expired.

“We just had mental breakdowns,” Fofana said. “We would turn it over on one end and then allow it to be a problem for us on defense.”

In the four-minute overtime, the Lady Bulldogs were able to push out to a 64-58 lead with a little more than a minute left. IR came within four, but McCrary was fouled and hit both free throws.

Then the Lady Braves experienced a backbreaking turnover. After a traveling turnover that KF could not capitalize on, an IR player with the ball accidentally stepped out of bounds. On the ensuing possession, KF senior wing Chantel Roberts drained a three-pointer to make it 69-60 with only seconds remaining.

“It shouldn’t have been overtime,” Roberts said. “It should have been just a win.”

“We’ve got to talk,” she said. “That’s all it was. Just a little communication malfunction and we got it back, we got it together.”

McCrary led KF with 23 points, nine rebounds to go with five steals and four assists. Roberts had 16 points and six rebounds, Riddick had nine points and six boards and junior point guard Brittany Alston had eight points and nine assists.

In only 12 minutes of play, Croker had nine points and five rebounds.

The Lady Bulldogs (15-3, 12-2) travel to play Grassfield tonight.