King’s Fork quells Hurricanes

Published 10:20 pm Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The King’s Fork High School boys’ basketball team’s recent performances seemed to confirm it was experiencing a bit of an off year as inconsistent play led to mounting losses. But then on Tuesday, the Bulldogs re-wrote that story.

They pulled out an impressive 66-65 win over visiting Heritage High School, the No. 1 Group 4A team in the state, according to VirginiaPreps.com.

“In this program, we’re not used to losing that much,” said KF sophomore Deshaun Wethington, who hit the game-winner with 2.1 seconds remaining. “(The Hurricanes) were the No. 1 team in our conference, so that was a big win that we needed.”

King’s Fork High School junior Shaun Faulk provides important defense against visiting Heritage High School on Tuesday evening.

King’s Fork High School junior Shaun Faulk provides important defense against visiting Heritage High School on Tuesday evening.

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Bulldogs head coach Josh Worrell cited defense as the key to the win.

“Early on, we stayed fundamentally sound in our defense,” he said, as his team exited the first quarter with a 16-9 lead. But the Bulldogs had notable defensive lapses at times, which made the game more difficult than it needed to be.

Worrell referred to senior Michael Duncan as Heritage’s best shooter.

“He scores five three-pointers in the second quarter,” Worrell said, recounting the game. “If he doesn’t do that, that ballgame’s a little bit different.”

The Bulldogs trailed 34-33 at halftime, but fell back in the third quarter, trailing 52-45 at the beginning of the fourth.

However, King’s Fork made the fourth quarter about its comeback, led by a defense that led to key Hurricanes turnovers.

“I didn’t want to press Heritage much, because of (their) athletes and everybody can dribble, so we kind of did some token press, but that still caused them some issues, and we were able to capitalize on them,” Worrell said.

The Bulldogs also excelled on the boards.

“That was a big key; I told them we had to keep (Corey White) and (Troy Gibson) off the glass,” Worrell said. “We just had to do it together as a group. It wasn’t going to be one person or another (that was) going to get all the rebounds.”

Down by 10 with about six minutes to go, the Bulldogs ended the game on a 17-6 run, with valuable contributions from sophomore Keith Stagg, junior Akil Freeman, junior Dale Roscoe, junior Justin Chicot and Wethington.

With 1:10 on the clock, Heritage led 63-59 when Chicot converted a three-point play. The Hurricanes turned the ball over and Roscoe scored to give his team a 64-63 lead. Heritage responded instantly with a field goal, and then blocked Chicot’s three-point attempt with 6.7 seconds to go.

On the ensuing inbound, Stagg passed to Wethington.

“Honestly, the only thing that was going through my mind, I just wanted to get a bucket, no matter if I scored it or my teammate scored it,” Wethington said.

The play was set up for him to drive to the hoop and either shoot or dump it back off to Stagg, who would be down low. But Troy Gibson went to defend Stagg, “So I just went up with it, and I was wide open,” Wethington said.

Wethington finished with 19 points and three steals, while Stagg had a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds to go with two steals. Roscoe had 14 points and eight boards and Freeman added five steals.

King’s Fork (11-7, 4-2) visits Nansemond River High School (15-3, 4-2) on Friday for a pivotal showdown between cross-town rivals tied for second in the conference. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.