Not in ‘our house’
Published 7:36 pm Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Lady Bulldogs avenge loss to Lake Taylor
The King’s Fork High School Lady Bulldogs scored a 65-63 home win over Lake Taylor High School on Saturday night that gave them retribution after a season-ending loss to the Lady Titans in 2013.
The last time the two teams had met was in the Virginia High School League Eastern Region tournament quarterfinals last season. The Lady Titans had prevailed 61-56 at the Norfolk Scope Arena en route to winning the VHSL Group AAA state championship.
While graduation claimed some of both teams’ stars from last season, the Lady Bulldogs’ returners had not forgotten the loss.
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After a poor first half on Saturday, King’s Fork seemed headed for another defeat, but its second-half performance changed everything. After outscoring Lake Taylor 20-10 in the third quarter, the Lady Bulldogs took the lead with just over six minutes in the game and never gave it up in the penultimate game of Saturday’s Bulldog Showcase.
“It was so great, I was so happy,” King’s Fork senior Khadedra Croker said of the win. She said the Lady Bulldogs should have won last year’s game, but she was glad to show Lake Taylor that “they can’t take it at our house.”
KF head coach Maurice Fofana was delighted.
“It felt good, especially being down 14 at the half,” he said. He identified nerves on a young team as an early issue. “The second half we came back, and we played like the team that I know we can play like.”
Trailing 38-24 at halftime, the Lady Bulldogs scored 41 points in the final 16 minutes of play.
Fofana said Croker was battling the lingering effects of a stomach virus in the first half. She started slow but, like the team, rallied in the second half.
“She came on big for us,” he said, alluding to her latest triple-double performance — 22 points, 15 rebounds and 10 blocked shots.
When Croker was not scoring, she was giving opportunities to other players by drawing a double-team.
She worked well in the paint with freshman Amesha Miller, who scored some clutch fourth-quarter baskets, including what ended up being the winning shot on a pass from Croker.
Miller wound up with 18 points and eight boards.
Freshman Cydney Nichols converted some big three-pointers in the second half and finished with 13 points.
Senior Brittany Alston dished out 10 assists, receiving high praise from her coach for facilitating the offense.
“All the other kids score a bunch of points, but without Brittany, it wouldn’t be possible,” Fofana said.
Alston and Croker are two of the team’s elders and now find themselves surrounded by young players like Miller and Nichols. Croker explained what this experience was like.
“I can’t complain because they really are a good team,” she said. “If we play hard, they’re going to give us their all.”
King’s Fork (11-2, 3-0) hosts Phoebus High School on Friday.