Bulldogs ready to face Kecoughtan

Published 8:42 pm Saturday, February 23, 2013

When the King’s Fork Bulldogs face the Kecoughtan Warriors at 8 p.m. tonight at the Norfolk Scope Arena, it will mark their fifth visit in school history to the semifinals round of the Virginia High School League’s Eastern Region tournament.

But it will be the first time they’ve played Kecoughtan in a real game, and the matchup looks to be the hot one for the weekend.

Each team carries identical 23-4 records into the game. Whoever wins will play again on Monday for the championship against the winner of Sunday’s earlier game between Hampton and Western Branch.

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“We’ve scrimmaged Kecoughtan before,” KFHS coach Josh Worrell said. “(We’ve) actually played against their coach, Ivan Thomas, the first year we went to the state tournament.”

At that point, Thomas was coaching the T.C. Williams Titans, which ended up defeating the Bulldogs 59-39.

“I’ve known him since that point,” Worrell said. “He does a great job with the kids, a great motivator and he just gets them to play at a high level. (The Titans are) a very good basketball team.”

“We’ve had the opportunity to scout them some, just as well as they’ve probably had the opportunity to scout us this year,” he said. “Each year, you’ve got to do some things differently with the personnel that you have, and this year (Thomas) has been doing some things a little different. I know it’s a team that’s very, very long, that shoots the ball well, so we’re going to have to play extremely well.”

Two players who will demand particular attention from the Bulldogs defense are senior forwards Gregory Alexander and Rodney Bullock. Alexander, whom Worrell said “shoots the ball extremely well,” has committed to East Carolina University. Bullock has signed with Providence College.

“He can do it all, can handle the ball, shoot, get to the rim,” Worrell said. “Hopefully, we’re up for the test and ready to lock in on defense.”

Rather than put particular pressure on one or two defenders on his roster, Worrell said the five guys on the court must all hold up their end of the deal on defense.

“I think it’s just a whole concerted effort defensively when we play — of all five guys understanding their responsibilities and their roles when the ball’s in certain spots,” he said. “Hopefully, they’ll understand that and do what they’re asked to do.”