Bulldogs turn tables on Cavs

Published 10:33 pm Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Tuesday night was the first time the boys’ basketball teams from Lakeland and King’s Fork high schools had met in-season since last season’s conference tournament championship game, and the latest meeting had a decidedly different result.

: King's Fork High School senior guard Tyese Pressley puts the ball up for two during the Bulldogs' 66-46 home win over Lakeland High School on Tuesday. (Caroline LaMagna photo)

: King’s Fork High School senior guard Tyese Pressley puts the ball up for two during the Bulldogs’ 66-46 home win over Lakeland High School on Tuesday. (Caroline LaMagna photo)

While the game went back-and-forth early, the host Bulldogs pulled away in the second half to defeat the defending Ironclad Conference tournament champions 66-46.

King’s Fork coach Josh Worrell said his team “played hard for three quarters. Second quarter we didn’t play well, but withstood their run.”

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“It was a game of flurries,” said Cavaliers coach Clint Wright, noting the Bulldogs had the largest one. “We played in spurts and somewhat inconsistent.”

The Cavaliers had some health issues on their roster, but Wright was not using them as an excuse and highlighted the Bulldogs’ role in Lakeland’s sub-par play.

“King’s Fork helped us to not play the best, mentally,” he said.

Worrell said the deciding factor in the game was “our defense in the second half.”

“We did a much better job switching defenses,” he said, adding his team limited certain players and forced others to make shots in their place.

It was a significant improvement over the Bulldogs’ play earlier in the game when Worrell said, “We weren’t boxing out. (The Cavaliers) had two or three chances to shoot.”

Also, he said, while on offense, his team had been scatter-brained against the defensive pressure.

But evaluating their overall performance after the game was over, Wright complimented the Bulldogs.

“They stuck to what it was they needed to do, and they were successful,” he said.

King’s Fork junior forward Keith Stagg led all scorers with 21 points, also adding 10 rebounds and five assists.

Freshman guard Rontre Pope continues to impress, aiding the Bulldogs with 12 points, seven rebounds and three assists on his birthday.

“He did a good job,” Worrell said. “He’s the only person to hit threes for us all night.”

The coach later added that Pope is “real mature for his age on the floor as a freshman and hope to see a lot of great things from him.”

Senior guard Craig Ingram rounded out the Bulldog scorers in double figures with 10 points. On Saturday, he led his team with 22 points in a 96-77 win against visiting Hanover High School during the Bulldog Tip-Off Showcase. Stagg had 20 points, eight boards, seven assists and three steals in that game.

Lakeland, on Tuesday, was led by junior forward Deonta Knight with 15 points, though he missed the last six minutes of the game due to cramping, which he had been dealing with since halftime.

Cavaliers senior guard Kenya Latham added 14 points.

Though his minutes were limited due to foul trouble, junior forward Kayonta Brown “is going to earn more playing time,” Wright said, impressed by his potential.

Lakeland (3-3, 1-1) is battling some illness in its ranks, but will return to action and look to rebound at home tonight against Hickory High School.

King’s Fork (4-2, 1-0) visits Nansemond River High School (4-2, 0-1) tonight, then Deep Creek High School on Friday.