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Bulldogs top Cavs

The Bulldogs got the best of the Lakeland Cavaliers on their home floor Friday night.

With the win, King’s Fork High School took this season’s series against rival Lakeland High School. Both teams will have matched up three times by season’s end, and King’s Fork has won the first two games. Friday night, the Bulldogs took a 68-58 win.

The Bulldogs had to earn everything Friday night, dealing with a difficult atmosphere both literally and figuratively. The Cavs’ home gym was packed with the crowd anticipating a rivalry-fueled show. And because of the warm weather, the environment in the gym was a bit humid, so both teams had to deal with their fair share of obstacles, but overall both fought to the end.

“Those kids are some tough kids,” Bulldogs coach Rick Hite said. “Those Lakeland boys don’t back down from anybody. They are well coached, so we will take it how we can. We came together and were able to make plays when we needed to.”

Bulldog senior James Hatton had the hot hand. He led all scorers with 25 and gave the Cavs’ defense a fit all game long. Cavs coach Clint Wright referred to Hatton as one of the better shooters in the Hampton Roads area. Hatton also added 12 rebounds. Leontre Bailey was second behind Hatton with 16 to give the Bulldogs their only two double-digit scorers of the game. He also had six rebounds and six assists.

“We did some good things, and for some of the game we had some mental lapses as well,” Hite said. “It was such an emotional game on top of the layoff. There were times we may have over-pressed instead of taking a step back.”

Wright applauded his guys for not giving up throughout the game. He believes Lakeland had some of the looks they wanted but were unable to make them. Keimari Artis led the Cavs in scoring with 21 points, and Clint Wright Jr. added 17.

“You want to win the ball game,” Coach Wright said. “Hats off to Coach Hite and the direction he has that team going. We had growth out there, and we didn’t back down. There were things we could have done a little better to have made the game even more interesting.”

Wright and the Cavs hoped their record would have been a bit better at this point of the season, but he is admiring the direction the Cavs are headed. Lakeland is on to something special that he believes will show sooner rather than later.

King’s Fork will take on Indian River High School on the road at 7 p.m. Tuesday. Lakeland will face Hickory High School at home at 7 p.m. Tuesday as well.

King’s Fork 68, Lakeland 58

KF—Hatton 25, Bailey 16, Boyette 8, Mason 4, Dunn 4, Wilson 3, Mizelle 2

L—Artis 21, Wright 17, Livingston 9, Bellamy 5, St. John 2, Cobb 2, Hawkins 2