Lady ‘Dogs get their groove back

Published 11:02 pm Wednesday, January 8, 2014

In control: King's Fork High School senior point guard Brittany Alston beats the defender from Hickory High School during the Lady Bulldogs' 57-31 home win on Tuesday. (Titus Mohler/Suffolk News-Herald)

In control: King’s Fork High School senior point guard Brittany Alston beats the defender from Hickory High School during the Lady Bulldogs’ 57-31 home win on Tuesday. (Titus Mohler/Suffolk News-Herald)

King’s Fork High School’s successful girls’ basketball team hosted Hickory High School on Tuesday, and Lady Bulldogs freshman Amesha Miller gave a description of her team’s performance that every player and coach loves to hear.

“I think we were able to do what we wanted to do,” she said.

After going 1-2 in a Myrtle Beach, S.C., tournament, King’s Fork got right back to its winning ways. It pulled away for a 57-31 blowout win in its first game since Dec. 21.

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“I thought we played pretty good coming off of the long break,” Lady Bulldogs head coach Maurice Fofana said.

The first quarter featured an ideal start against a skilled Lady Hawks team.

“We pushed the ball well, and we kind of kept them off-balance,” Fofana said. King’s Fork led 17-10 at the end of the period.

Unfortunately, complacency took hold during the second quarter, and the Lady Bulldogs failed to build much on their lead, going into halftime up 25-17.

Fofana said they got too comfortable. His goal for the team is to score lots of points each quarter “until we can get the defense to where we want it to be.” He said the defense was good in spurts on Tuesday.

King’s Fork turned things around in the second half by following its own first-quarter example. The lead grew to 42-26 entering the fourth.

Freshman Cydney Nichols stifled the Lady Hawks’ offense in the third period with a series of steals.

For the game, senior Khadedra Croker led the Lady Bulldogs statistically by notching another triple-double, producing 13 points, 13 rebounds and 10 blocked shots. She came out strong in the first half and helped her teammates by grabbing the attention of the Hickory defense.

“It takes the pressure off some of the younger kids,” Fofana said.

A younger player who already has emerged as a major contributor is Amesha Miller, who was a bane of Hickory’s in the fourth quarter. She stalled any momentum the Lady Hawks tried to develop by routinely drawing fouls in the paint and going to the foul line. She ended up with nine points and 10 boards.

Then, sophomore Latonia Thomas’ strong effort and aggressiveness helped seal the rout. She finished with eight points.

Fofana expects the two freshmen, Miller and Nichols, and Thomas to be important for King’s Fork down the stretch this season.

He praised senior Brittany Alston for how she managed the game from the point. “She controls the team well,” he said. She had six assists.

Western Branch High School represents one of the bigger challenges that will come from the Southeastern District this season, and King’s Fork (7-2) faces the host Lady Bruins tonight.