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Foxes show heart in playoffs against Warhill

Prior to the Regional semi-final 55-41 lost against Grafton, which ended their season, the King George Foxes was nothing short of thrilling as they finished off the Warhill Lions in a challenging 74-69 win last Tuesday night in the Region I, Division 4, boys basketball Quarterfinals.  Both teams working to stay alive in post-season play made for an exciting home finale.

The Foxes (7-7 Battlefield District, 13-15 overall) pulled off the win using patience on offense and sound defensive strategies; KGHS was ranked third in Team Defense of the AA area schools.  Three Foxes scored in double digits: recently named to the First-team

All-District, L.J. Baylor contributed a game-high 20 points; Damion Carroll, who was voted to the Second-team All-District, added 14 points; and Anthony Howard scored 12 points. 

Jumping out to an early lead, KGHS’s Baylor heated up to boost his team to a 20-13 lead by the end of the first quarter of play.  The next eight minutes went differently as the Lions’ full court defense put them back in the game, forcing the Foxes to turn the ball over several times, and narrowing the Foxes lead to just four points by halftime, 34-30.  
King George showed fortitude offensively to start the second half.  At the third quarter 5:10 mark, Carroll stole the ball taking it to the hole for a crowd-pleasing dunk, giving the Foxes an eight point advantage, 40-32.   Thirty seconds later things started to turn around for the Foxes as Carroll picked up his third foul on a charging call, and shortly after Jamonte Parker picked up his third foul.  On the next play, Warhill’s Da’Quan Braxton hit a three-pointer which began a 9-2 run by the Lions.  The Foxes fought venomously to maintain their lead, now down to just two points.  Anthony came through on a defensive stop with a block, and Parker hit a short jumper to give the Foxes back a four point lead.  The Lions answered back pulling to within one point.   Just before the third quarter buzzer rang, the Foxes Alon Clipper threw up a half-court high arcing shot which sank, bringing the crowd to life and once again giving the Foxes a four point lead, 50-46.

The fourth quarter proved to be nail-biting, with the score staying close.  The Lions tied up the game for the first time, at 52, early in the final period.  With 3:09 left in the game, and the Foxes in the lead 60-59, Carroll picked up his fourth foul.  Hitting his second 3-pointer of the evening, Warhill’s Brandon Push gave the Lions their first and only lead.  Carroll answered back with a basket tying the score once again.  With less than two minutes remaining in the game, Carroll stole the ball on two consecutive plays, but KGHS capitalized on only one of the stops, keeping the lead at just two points. 
 
Carroll grabbed an integral rebound on a Warhill miss with less than one minute to go.  The Foxes offense wisely slowed down the game, handling the Lion’s full court pressure calmly, holding a 64-62 lead.  The Lions had to resort to fouling King George to stop the clock, and subsequently King George confidently used the opportunity to extend their lead and thus pull off the win.  In the final 40.9 seconds, the Foxes shot 83% from the charity stripe, hitting 10 of 12 free throws.  Baylor hit 6 of 6 from the line. 

The Foxes were a fun team to watch this year; they grew as a team throughout the season, overcoming the struggles of a team who returned just one starter from last year’s Regional Championship team, an inspiration to all.

Teri Priebe

 

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