Making history, and a long-awaited reprisal

Published 11:22 pm Saturday, December 21, 2013

You can often determine a team’s quality by its coach.

It is not an exact science, but a brief exposure to some of Suffolk’s winningest coaches right now reveals they are intense, strict, detail-oriented and demanding. This much can be learned just by hearing them on the sidelines.

They also have strong connections with their players, working to help them be productive rather than frustrated.

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I get excited for a team when I see a coach like this at the helm, because I see the potential for them to go far, maybe even win a state championship.

Lakeland High School’s field hockey coach of the last 15 years, Tara Worley, was one of those coaches.

Though I’ve covered Lakeland field hockey for only two years, I could see from the start that Worley got consistent results. Any given year could be the one the girls bring home another state title.

Under Worley’s direction, the Lady Cavaliers won a state title with four state-level appearances and they won two regional titles with 14 regional-level appearances.

Worley’s dedication to making Lakeland’s program successful made the Lady Cavaliers truly exciting to follow, a point with which I’m sure parents and faithful fans would instantly agree.

Because King’s Fork High School’s boys’ basketball team is so young this year, it might not seem likely that events of historical significance to the program would take place. Nevertheless, they have.

The first is not an accomplishment of which Bulldogs head coach Josh Worrell is proud, but it’s still noteworthy. After searching his records, Matthew Hatfield of determined that no team in the Southeastern District has ever started out its season with three consecutive double-overtime games.

The Bulldogs also went into a single overtime in the fourth game before joining the ranks of most teams by finishing up in four quarters for games 5-8. King’s Fork went 3-1 during the run.

The second event of historical significance to Bulldogs basketball happened last weekend, when the team faced Lake Taylor High School in the third annual King’s Fork Tip-Off Showcase.

It was only the second time the two schools had met. The first was King’s Fork’s first game ever, and Worrell remembers it well. The Titans won 99-20, and they pressed the Bulldogs for the entire game.

Worrell could not fathom why Titans coach Kenny Brown did this, but he knew one thing for certain: “I’ve been wanting to play him for 10 years.”

Brown had always declined, but he accepted this year, and King’s Fork got some retribution. The Bulldogs appeared destined for a loss at the end, but in the final minute of regulation they rattled off an 8-0 run for a 54-52 win.

Terrick Philpot capped the run off with two three-pointers.

“Luckily we came out on top,” Worrell said.