Bulldogs break Glass

Published 10:01 pm Thursday, March 12, 2015

The King’s Fork High School boys’ basketball team led by only one point at halftime on Thursday against E.C. Glass High School during the state semifinals in Richmond.

But the Bulldogs ramped up the intensity in the second half to defeat the Hilltoppers 69-58 and punch their ticket to Saturday’s Virginia High School League Group 4A state championship game.

King’s Fork High School junior point guard Deshaun Wethington lifts the ball up to the hoop against E.C. Glass High School during the Bulldogs’ 69-58 state semifinal victory on Thursday in Richmond.

King’s Fork High School junior point guard Deshaun Wethington lifts the ball up to the hoop against E.C. Glass High School during the Bulldogs’ 69-58 state semifinal victory on Thursday in Richmond.

“It’s a fun time,” King’s Fork coach Josh Worrell said. “You know, it’s good for the kids to see this opportunity exists when they work hard and when they believe in each other.”

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This is the second trip to the state title game for the Bulldogs in the last six years. They reached the game in 2009 by using determination and guts to advance past undefeated Petersburg High School in the semifinal.

Worrell explained how his team advanced to the state final again on Thursday.

“In the second half, they came out with a more concerted effort of stopping people and getting rebounds and not getting out-hustled, and they did a great job of making free throws in the fourth quarter,” he said.

King’s Fork trailed 13-12 after the first quarter and had several players get in foul trouble in the second quarter. Junior forward Keith Stagg, junior center Chris Roscoe and senior forward Dale Roscoe each had two fouls with 7:10 still to go in the first half. Stagg got his third less than two minutes later.

He admitted it hurt his confidence level to get hit with that many fouls early, but when asked how he overcomes that, he said, “Just trust my teammates.”

His faith proved to be well-placed, particularly in junior point guard Deshaun Wethington, who finished with a team-high 21 points and four assists.

“It’s a good feeling knowing that my teammates had trust in me to make the plays that I made tonight,” Wethington said.

He was sidelined during Monday’s regional championship game due to violation of team rules, but he reminded Bulldogs fans how impactful he could be on Thursday.

“He came back and did a great job,” Worrell said. “That’s his role.”

Wethington played all but one minute of the game, while Stagg was limited to 18 minutes.

“I felt like if my teammates held it together, then I would come in and finish the game for them,” Stagg said.

Though he only generated two points in the first half, Stagg finished the game with 17.

“He did a great job today of not forcing shots,” Worrell said.

The Bulldogs led 30-29 at halftime, 46-45 after three quarters, but then went up by as many as 13 points in the final period.

The Hilltoppers (26-3) made it interesting again late, drawing to within six points with 58 seconds to go, but free throws by senior guard Craig Ingram, Stagg and one by Wethington sealed the win.

Comparing this trip to the state championship with the one in 2009, Worrell said, “It’s unique with this group, because every group’s different. Hopefully, we’ll enjoy the moment but yet understand what we’re here for.”

King’s Fork (19-9) will face I.C. Norcom High School (18-9) on Saturday to determine the Group 4A boys’ basketball state champion. Tip-off is scheduled for 10 a.m. at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Stuart C. Siegel Center in Richmond.

Tickets for Saturday’s game will be on sale today at King’s Fork’s main office from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The cost for a ticket is $10, and purchasers are being asked to bring exact change, cash only.

Tickets will also be for sale on Saturday morning at the door.

For King’s Fork students only, arrangements are being made for a student fan bus that will leave promptly on Saturday at 7:30 a.m.

Interested students should bring $15 in cash, exact change, this morning to the ticket window located in the school cafeteria. Seating will be limited, and the bus is expected to sell out before the end of breakfast, so students are encouraged to come early.