Bulldogs of two different times

Published 6:46 pm Saturday, March 14, 2015

The contrasts between King’s Fork High School’s two boys’ basketball teams to make it to the state championship game are substantial, but they prove Bulldogs coach Josh Worrell can find similar success regardless of circumstances.

There are far more differences between the two teams than simply the outcome of the state title game itself. Yes, the 2009 Bulldogs defeated William Fleming High School 49-47, while the 2015 Bulldogs were defeated by I.C. Norcom High School, 52-40.

But the 2009 Bulldogs also finished with a 31-1 record, their only loss coming during the regular season to Bethel High School.

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The 2015 Bulldogs finished at 19-10, including a prior loss to the Greyhounds in the regional championship game.

The two King’s Fork teams also played under different Virginia High School League alignments.

JaQuon Parker, Jay Copeland, Jamar Wertz and Davante Gardner were stars for the 2009 Bulldogs, and key role players included Derek Wright, Alvin Daughtrey and Chris Hearn, who were key to the state title win.

This year’s King’s Fork team was led by junior guard/forward Keith Stagg, who is the closest Bulldog to Parker’s stature on the current roster. Stagg has a nice jump shot, is a good passer and is able to use his 6-foot-4-inch frame to be an effective rebounder, as well.

The 2015 Bulldogs have also gotten a key lift by King’s Fork’s primary gridiron hero, junior Deshaun Wethington. Similar to his sophomore year, he was not on the court to start the basketball season, both due to postseason football and injury.

But once he joined the team, he instantly makes it deeper and faster. Josh Worrell was noted as saying even last year that the Bulldogs are a different team with him on the court.

Junior center Chris Roscoe showed significant growth from his sophomore season, and was important to the Bulldogs’ run this season. Worrell has indicated he wants to see more consistency from him, as Roscoe has shown flashes of brilliance.

At 6 feet 5 inches, he was the tallest member of the 2014-15 team and should be a big factor for the Bulldogs next season if he continues to develop.

Freshman guard Rontre Pope is another sign that the future is bright for King’s Fork, as he earned the honor of being a starter during the regular season. Worrell said he has been impressed with Pope’s discipline on the court.

Senior guard Craig Ingram returned to King’s Fork after a year away at I.C. Norcom High School. He brought his experience, along with his fellow seniors to see quite a few minutes — forwards Dale Roscoe and Tyese Pressley.

Something the 2009 and 2015 Bulldog state title contenders have in common, however, is a strong returning group of players to bring hope to the following season.