Growing KFHS tops Lakeland

Published 9:06 pm Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Tuesday night’s cross-town basketball showdown was a close contest, but the young King’s Fork High School Bulldogs used a disciplined approach to pull away from host Lakeland High School for a 54-47 victory.

“It was a great win,” KF head coach Josh Worrell said.

King’s Fork High School sophomore Deshaun Wethington defends Lakeland High School sophomore Qurante Budd during Tuesday night’s conference match-up.

King’s Fork High School sophomore Deshaun Wethington defends Lakeland High School sophomore Qurante Budd during Tuesday night’s conference match-up.

It started out rough for the Bulldogs, though. In the first quarter, they allowed a myriad of offensive rebounds, giving Lakeland second-chance opportunities and a 16-15 lead going into the second period.

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Worrell said he expected the Cavaliers to run a zone defense, but instead they went with man-to-man. He directed his players to follow a different strategy from the second quarter on.

“I thought that Josh executed well when he needed to, and that was actually the difference in the ballgame,” Lakeland head coach Clint Wright said.

Coach Worrell was thrilled to see his young players listen to instruction and begin dictating the tempo of the game.

“I think our guys did a great job of that tonight,” he said.

Sophomore guard Deshaun Wethington led the way for King’s Fork with 22 points.

“We anticipated him driving a lot and being a distributor,” Wright said, but added Wethington shot the ball really well.

Wethington echoed Worrell’s comments, noting the team stepped up on defense and slowed the offense down. He was happy to get the win over the rival Cavaliers.

“It’ll make us come better together as a team,” Wethington said.

Worrell explained why he thought this, as well.

“Everybody went in and did their role when I put them in the ballgame,” Worrell said. All 13 players who dressed out for King’s Fork played on Tuesday.

Worrell observed his players beginning to coalesce as a team with a common goal, looking out for each other.

“If we continue to do that, I think we can be a special group,” he said.

Sophomore Keith Stagg chipped in nine points and 16 rebounds.

Though the Bulldogs have struggled early this year, they have still managed to win most of the time. Their 5-1 start is the best since 2009, when the team still had current Marquette University standout Davante Gardner.

Tuesday’s game was a disappointing loss for Lakeland, which played well despite being without starting sophomore Jaquan Yulee. He was serving a suspension after being ejected from last Friday’s game against Nansemond River High School for an exchange with Warriors senior Daniel Wallace that bordered on being physical.

On Tuesday, neither the Cavs nor the Bulldogs led by more than one point at the end of the first three quarters.

“We had opportunities, but we didn’t seize those opportunities,” Wright said.

Senior Marche’ Everette led Lakeland with 13 points and 10 rebounds and sophomore Deonta Knight had 12 points and nine boards.

“We had it,” Knight said of the game. “We just didn’t close out. We’ve got to make free throws.”

Tonight, Lakeland (2-4, 0-2) will visit Hickory High School and King’s Fork (5-1, 1-0) will host Nansemond River High School (6-0, 1-0).