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Hite, Epps take top state honors

The King’s Fork High School boys’ basketball team took home the top state honors, with Coach Rick Hite and Jayden Epps earning Coach of the Year and Player of the Year, respectively.

The Bulldogs were able to exceed expectations set out for them this season. They came into the season with a talented group, which immediately put the Bulldogs in contention for a Class 4 state title.

They earned a share of the Class 4 state title when the tournament was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and also took home the top honors in the state, with Hite earning Coach of the Year honors and Epps taking Class 4 State Player of the Year honors.

King’s Fork had two All-State selections overall, with Epps and Quentin Livingston. Livingston was a second team All-State selection.

They Bulldogs won 15 of their first 16 games, facing teams from higher classifications that made state runs of their own. They finished the regular season with a 19-3 record, giving them the No. 2 seed in the region. With that, the Bulldogs went on to clear out the region and earn a Class 4A region title. Hite and Epps took home the top honors in the region as well.

Livingston, who was also an All-Region selection, likely had the most memorable moment from postseason basketball in Hampton Roads, when he made a game winning three-pointer in the region semifinals to advance his team. The Bulldogs went on to handle business in the state tournament, and Hite is more than proud.

“I am beyond speechless with everything that’s come this team way,” Hite said. “I feel like we had one of the toughest schedules in the state, and to be able to do what we did was great. The kids stayed committed to the cause. It was games where we may not have played well, but the kids toughed it out and stayed the course, and I couldn’t be more proud of those guys.”

Hite admitted that it was almost like a circus at times dealing with the season as crowds traveled around Hampton Roads to see the Bulldogs play. They were able to check off every box, despite not actually being able to play for the state title.

“It was a lot of expectations,” Hite said. “But we always talked about being solid. We just locked in and stayed King’s Fork. We knew we had to keep working and we had to get better and those guys did that. You can easily get caught up in what was going on around them, but those guys didn’t.”