Lady Bulldogs advance

Published 10:14 pm Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The King’s Fork girls’ basketball team cruised to a 76-43 victory after a slow start against visiting Great Bridge in the quarterfinals of the Southeastern District tournament on Monday.

Through the first quarter, the contest against the seventh-seeded Lady Wildcats remained close, with the Lady Bulldogs holding only a 14-11 edge at the close. King’s Fork head coach Maurice Fofana attributed the slow start to not having played since last Wednesday’s regular-season finale against Lakeland.

King’s Fork sophomore point guard Raven Mills drives against the Great Bridge defense in the fourth quarter of the Lady Bulldogs’ 76-43 win in Monday’s quarterfinal round district tourney match-up at King’s Fork High School.

“Normally we have two or three games a week, so I look for us to be much better Wednesday,” he said, referring to his team’s semifinal match-up this evening.

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Following a first quarter with many missed shots, the Lady Bulldogs’ offense really kicked into high gear in the second, producing 30 points for a 44-21 halftime score. One thing that aided the scoring was a defense that slowly came to life.

“I think we kind of turned it on as the game progressed,” Fofana said.

King’s Fork’s containment of Great Bridge reached its height in the third quarter, as the team outscored the Wildcats 22-6. The Lady Bulldogs started the second half with 10-0 run, and the Lady Wildcats did not score their first basket of the half until 4:10 remaining in the third quarter.

Senior small forward Julissa Riddick had a strong game, leading the home team with 21 and four steals. She was able, she said, to “just keep my head in the game, just play hard for my team.”

Fofana noted Riddick’s great performance but said it was an example of what she does consistently for her team. He said it was a complete team effort that made the difference in the game.

“She had more attempts tonight, but she’s all over the basket, all over the backboard,” he said. “She’s always that way, so I wouldn’t say one player kind of turned it on for us a whole lot. We just played well defensively, and we pushed the ball.”

Lady Bulldogs’ senior wing Chantel Roberts had 16 points, five rebounds, six assists and four steals, junior power forward/center Khadedra Croker had 15 points and 10 rebounds and junior point guard Brittany Alston contributed eight assists.

With just over four minutes to go in the fourth quarter, Riddick hit a basket to give KF a 40-point lead. Shortly thereafter, Fofana put in some of his bench players, including some junior varsity players that had just been called up to the team for the tournament.

One of the JV players was sophomore Lexus Mills, whose older sister, senior guard Luxurie Mills, has been on the varsity roster this season. The two were able to team up for a basket when the older sister passed it off to Lexus and she converted it for a layup.

“There may not be any more blowouts, so that was good for them to be able to play tonight,” Fofana said of his younger players.

Grassfield defeated Oscar Smith on Monday 79-52 and will head over to King’s Fork High School on Wednesday.

The Lady Bulldogs lost to the Lady Grizzlies in their first meeting this season, 51-41, but won the last contest, 45-40.

King’s Fork senior wing Adrieanna McCrary, who had 11 points on Monday, gave an idea of what to expect.

“They’re going to pressure the ball a lot and push the ball,” she said. “They run just like us.”

Fofana said his whole game plan will revolve around defense.

“Last time we played them, we played much better defense, and we made much more shots,” he said.

“The key to that game is stop them from running, slow the game for them on our side and allow us to play at our tempo,” he said. “So, if we’re ready to push, we can push, if we want to walk it down, we can.”

A slower game will work in King’s Fork’s favor, Fofana said.

“Size-wise, we’re much bigger, so a slower-paced game plays into our hand, (being) able to drop it into our 6-foot-3 post (Croker),” he said.