Hite’s first year in the books

Published 9:08 pm Thursday, February 22, 2018

The King’s Fork High School boys’ basketball team completed its first season under the second head coach in the school’s history on Tuesday.

The Bulldogs hosted Heritage in a No. 4-No. 5 matchup in the Class 4 Region A tournament, and the Bulldogs took at 63-35 loss. It was a disappointing loss in the Bulldogs’ eyes.

“I thought their coach did a really good job of taking away our top scorers in James and Keontae,” Bulldog’s coach Rick Hite said. “I think we got impatient and were a little too hesitant throughout the game. They controlled it from start to finish. We never had the juice needed to compete with a team like that, and I will take the blame for that.”

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Tuesday’s game was the second matchup for the two teams this season, and Heritage took the first game between the two as well. Regardless of the record, Hite’s inaugural season can be considered a success. The Bulldogs finished among the top half of a talented Southeastern District and were able to host a playoff game. They also finished with 12-plus wins on the season.

James Hatton drives to the basket for the Bulldogs in a prior game. The Bulldogs’ season ended this week with a loss to Heritage High School. (Caroline LaMagna Photo)

“I am extremely proud of these guys, because they really wanted to be coached,” Hite said. “They did their best to obtain a whole new system and style. We were able to do some good things. I don’t like the way the season ended, but I’m happy with what the guys contributed this season. I am glad the seniors were able to get back to the postseason and do some good things.”

Senior James Hatton, an all-district senior, had a good year for the Bulldogs as the top scorer for the season. He enjoyed playing his senior year under Hite and believes it has helped him get ready for the next level.

“Learning a new system was great,” Hatton said. “I think it really made me into a better ball player.”

The Bulldogs will have a nice core returning for next season, starting with Leontre Bailey and Keontae Boyette. Hite credits the previous coach, Josh Worrell, for setting a precedent for work ethic at King’s Fork.

“We have some guys who are returning that played some major minutes for us,” Hite said. “We are hoping that for next season those same guys come back hungrier. My phone has already been ringing about when we get back to work.”