KF responds to loss with OT win

Published 7:21 pm Thursday, January 25, 2018

By Matthew Hatfield

Correspondent

When King’s Fork and Nansemond River get together on the basketball court, they always have the potential to produce some instant classics and memorable finishes. Standouts who have gone on to excel at the college level come to mind, including Jaquon Parker, Jamar Wertz, Davante Gardner, Jay Copeland, Andre Jones, Nick Wright, Shannon Evans and Dontrell Brite, among many more.

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The latest chapter in this fierce series was authored on Wednesday night with host King’s Fork outlasting Nansemond River 81-73 in an overtime battle.

“It was a great game. They made some big plays to get it to overtime, and those kids over there are some fighters. It’s a fun rivalry, and games like this are why I’m back in high school basketball,” said King’s Fork’s first-year coach Rick Hite, crediting his coaching counterpart, Ed Young, and the Warriors for making his Bulldogs sweat beyond the 32 minutes of regulation to achieve the victory.

King’s Fork jumped out to a 16-8 lead, though they knew Nansemond River would make a run. Coming off a 75-68 loss at home to Deep Creek, the Bulldogs made their focal point rebounding. In particular, they didn’t want Nansemond River’s double-double machine, Jeremiah Lewis, to dominate them both scoring and rebounding.

Keontae Boyette adds two points to the Bulldogs’ 81-point total. (Caroline LaMagna photo)

“I thought we did a really good job early on of crowding them, making them stay on the perimeter and try to take care of Lewis on the glass because he’s so active,” Hite pointed out. “We were able to get on and run a little bit, but in the second quarter they made some 3’s.”

Even though Lewis was held to eight points, others picked up the slack for the Warriors, namely sophomore Tyler Chatman and Jalil Langston. Chatman and Langston finished with 15 points apiece. Soon, Nansemond River turned a four-point deficit into a two-point lead heading into the fourth quarter.

Neither team could wrest momentum from the other in the fourth quarter. With the game tied at 71 heading into the four-minute overtime session, the Bulldogs took control and outscored the Warriors 10-2 to finish, sinking some key free-throws down the stretch.

“In any overtime period, you want to get off to a good start. We were able to score on our first possession,” Hite commented. “That was key.”

Pacing King’s Fork with 21 points was senior guard James Hatton, who also collected eight rebounds. Tre Bailey tallied 20 points and nine rebounds. Keontae Boyette, described as “really aggressive,” by Hite, filled the stat sheet with 18 points, six assists and five rebounds.

With the win, King’s Fork is now 9-5 overall, boosting their playoff outlook for Class 4, Region A. Nansemond River drops to 4-10 after its third consecutive loss as their postseason hopes in Class 5, Region A are starting to dwindle.

Nonetheless, the two teams will meet again on Feb. 9 at Nansemond River, where the stakes and intensity are sure to be grand once again.

“A typical Nansemond River versus King’s Fork matchup,” Hite added. “Every time these teams meet — whether it’s Nansemond, King’s Fork or Lakeland — you expect the kids to compete super hard. The coaches are great. I’m excited to be a part of these games.”