Bulldogs fall to Truckers

Published 10:07 pm Friday, February 22, 2019

The King’s Fork High School boys’ basketball season came to an end Thursday evening with a loss to Churchland High School.

King’s Fork and Churchland matched up for a chance to play in the Class 4 Region A championship. As the No. 2 seed in the region, the Bulldogs were the host. However, Thursday was the final game of the season for King’s Fork after a 60-52 loss.

The loss to Churchland made the first time that King’s Fork had fallen to a Class 4 Region A team all season.

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It was a frustrating loss for the Bulldogs, who had a clear path to hosting the regional championship game the next night if they had won. Had they won Thursday, they also would secure a state tournament appearance, as both region finalists automatically advance.

“We know we can beat anybody, and we know if we don’t do things the right way, we can be beaten by anybody as well,” Coach Rick Hite said. “Unfortunately, things didn’t go our way, and it hurts, but we’ll be better for it.”

The Bulldogs were hot at the start of the game, as they got off to a 17-7 lead after one quarter of play. However, Churchland grabbed momentum back in the second quarter, going on a 12-0 run. The Truckers went into halftime with a 30-25 lead and never looked back. Churchland went up as high as 50-37 before the Bulldogs started to claw their way back in the game. Churchland held a 59-52 lead with 11 seconds left in the fourth.

Tyler Chatman led the way with 19 points, with Keontae Boyette adding 12 and George Beale adding 13.

Dealing with sizable and athletic forwards have been an issue for the Bulldogs this season. King’s Fork knew if they had opportunities at the rim, they needed to capitalize. The Bulldogs had more than 20 offensive rebounds but were unable to convert on many of them.

“It was a struggle,” Hite said. “They have certain types of players we have struggled with in the past. I’m proud of our guys, though, for their effort throughout this whole season.”

This has been the second year under Hite’s direction, and the Bulldogs have made a leap from year one to two. They finished the season 16-8. Though King’s Fork will be losing some talented seniors this season, Hite is happy with what he has coming back.

“We play a lot of kids,” Hite said. “We started two freshmen against Churchland. Having guys get experience is huge. We feel good about next season.”