KFHS boys prepare for winter
Published 9:12 pm Thursday, June 25, 2015
By Matthew Hatfield
Though basketball season is five months away, the King’s Fork Bulldogs are using their off-season time wisely to prepare for the 2015-16 campaign.
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Coach Josh Worrell and his players headed to Blacksburg last weekend to participate in the Buzz Williams Virginia Tech Basketball Team Camp. Worrell got to know Williams when Williams was at Marquette and recruited former King’s Fork star Davante Gardner.
An observer at the camp, Gardner watched the Bulldogs outlast a 25-team field to win the championship in the Gold Bracket.
“It was a good experience for the kids,” Worrell said. “We wanted to play against different competition and teams they’ve never seen so they won’t have pre-determined ideas of what this team is like and vice-versa.”
King’s Fork posted a 7-1 mark at the camp. The Bulldogs lost their first game by eight points to Gate City. From there, significant progress was shown.
“This was the first time we’ve played as a team since March. After that first loss, we played better each game,” Worrell noted.
The headliner for King’s Fork was 6-foot-5 forward Keith Stagg, an All-State selection as a junior. His duties included a little bit of everything, from scoring and rebounding to facilitating and making plays defensively.
“Keith did a good job of getting the other guys involved once the other teams keyed in on him,” Worrell said. “He didn’t shoot the ball well early on, but after the first couple games he started to get his rhythm.”
Virginia Tech’s coaches also took notice of Stagg, currently holding scholarship offers from Bethune-Cookman and High Point.
“They liked a lot of what they saw,” added Worrell. “I think his recruitment will continue to go up, once more and more people see him play.”
Others who made notable contributions for the Bulldogs included returnees Drequon Wilson and Don Stancel, two rising seniors, and Rontre Pope, a rising sophomore wing.
Worrell also lauded three unfamiliar faces. Raemaad Wright, a 6-foot-3 center who played sparingly a season ago as a sophomore, was effective in the paint. Six-foot-2 forward Byron Lawrence, who played on J.V. last season, had an impact, and so did Tre Bailey, an incoming freshman.
“They did a good job of moving the basketball and being unselfish. What caused (us) to go up from being up six or seven to being up 15 was our defense,” stated Worrell. “We showed some different things at times, and the kids hit on exactly what we wanted to do. There were moments where we exploded from up 10 to up 20. We’re trying to get them to keep that same mentality the whole time.”
In the team camp’s tourney, King’s Fork started by taking down Patrick Henry and then Dobyns Bennett in the quarterfinals. They took care of business against Wayne Hills of New Jersey in the semifinals and prevailed over Village Christian in the finals.
During some of those wins, the Bulldogs were able to experiment a little bit.
“It was funny because we were doing our stall game and some of the guys said, ‘Coach, we couldn’t have done that last year.’ In a team camp setting, you practice things like that when you’re up to see how things go,” Worrell pointed out.
“We have a different roster than what we had last year, and each year is a different situation,” Worrell said. “There’s a lot of good young talent.”