Heritage claims win at the Kennel

Published 10:42 pm Tuesday, February 10, 2015

By Matthew Hatfield


The King’s Fork Bulldogs boys’ basketball team went into Senior Night with plenty on the line and momentum to boot.

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They entered their regular season finale on Monday fresh off a 68-40 rout of rival Nansemond River and riding a four-game winning streak as they took on the Heritage Hurricanes to determine who will hold the top overall seed for the upcoming Ironclad Conference Tournament.

Six days earlier, King’s Fork had traveled to Newport News and beaten Heritage, 51-47. In the rematch, the Bulldogs trailed most of the night. Each time things seemed to get close, the Hurricanes had the answer on their way to claiming a 62-53 win at The Kennel.

Coach Josh Worrell of King’s Fork was disappointed his team couldn’t match Heritage in key plays at the end of quarters, and also that it struggled to keep Heritage star Romello Anderson in check. The reigning Ironclad Conference Player of the Year finished with 23 points on 9-of-15 shooting, scoring 12 of those points in the game’s final nine minutes, as Heritage outscored the Bulldogs 21-11 during that stretch.

“We did a good job last week of touching and being on Romello the whole time, not letting him get in his path. We didn’t do a very good job of that tonight,” Worrell noted.

“I told them in the locker room that Heritage was not a better team than they were when we played them last Tuesday. They just wanted it more and it showed from the very beginning to the end. They got to the loose balls and made it easy for them on offense.”

Equally discouraging was how Heritage contained two of King’s Fork’s primary offensive weapons, junior point guard Deshaun Wethington and junior forward Keith Stagg.

Wethington finished with five points — 15 fewer than what he had against Nansemond River in the team’s previous game — and didn’t score his first field goal until 2:44 left in the third quarter, giving the Bulldogs a brief 40-39 lead.

Stagg, who scored 20 points in the first meeting against Heritage and came in averaging 17.6 points per game, was held to just three points on 1-of-6 shooting and six rebounds.

“They played some triangle-and-two tonight. We adjusted and scored against it, but our shot selection and execution offensively was terrible,” Worrell said.

“We were just not really mentally focused tonight. I told them all day that you may never get this opportunity again. Why not take advantage of opportunities when you’re there? I don’t think we did a good job of that.”

King’s Fork erased an 11-point deficit in the second quarter behind junior center Chris Roscoe and senior guard Tyese Pressley. Roscoe had 14 points and nine rebounds. Pressley chipped in 12 points, including a pair of three-pointers.

King’s Fork shot 35.5 percent from the field and only 38.5 percent at the free-throw line, to go with 13 turnovers.

“We had some selfish stuff tonight that I haven’t seen in a while,” Worrell said.

The Bulldogs close out the season 14-8 overall and 7-3 in the Ironclad, meaning they get a first-round bye for the conference tournament that starts Feb. 13. They will host a quarterfinal winner on Feb. 18, with a regional playoff berth at stake.