King’s Fork celebration surrounds Quentin Livingston (Video Still: Antowyne Shaw/recruit757)
King’s Fork went to the wire with Menchville
by Andy Hilton, recruit757
King’s Fork was sent to a neutral court Wednesday night, but it could have been mistaken for a home game as the Bulldogs rocked the house with a thrilling finish.
Smithfield’s gym was packed and the crowd got their money’s worth.
Menchville led by two points at the half, 34-32. In the final seconds, in spite of all of the back and forth of lead changes and runs, the Monarchs still led by two points with 14.6 seconds left.
King’s Fork had the ball and head coach Rick Hite called for a timeout.
“It’s about trust. Trust the coaches and trust each other,” said Hite. “We weren’t being aggressive enough.”
What they needed at that point was execution. The game came down to one play. Under pressure, King’s Fork guard Jayden Epps took the inbound pass in the backcourt, dribble across mid-court, found Quentin Livingston in the corner, and Livingston dead-eyed the corner three for a 68-67 win.
The crowd went nuts.
“That was a good game. That one’s going to be the best game ever,” said Livingston. “We live through adversity. We’re here. We won the game. We’re going to states.”
The game certainly had the feel of a state championship. After passing this test, Coach Hite was quick to give his respect to Menchville.
“This was the best high school game I’ve been part of. Two really good teams and it came down to one possession; one shot,” said the coach. “It’s a shame that it had to happen (to Menchville) like that, but you gotta go out there and you gotta win…. I give it up to their kids. I give it up to their coaches. My heart goes out to them. I know how hard they work.”
Quentin Livingston finished the game with 12 points, seven rebounds, one assist, two steals and three blocks. Tyler Chatman was the high scorer for King’s Fork, contributing 16 points in the win. Epps added 15 and George Beale poured in 12. Play maker Chaunce Jenkins was the high scorer for Menchville with 21 points.
“It was a good, tough, gritty game that came down to the last shot,” Epps said in the post-game interview. “That was one of the toughest teams we’ve played all year. We played together and we stuck together. We got down, but we stuck together and got the job done.”
In the nightcap, Wilson dominated the home-standing Smithfield Packers, so the tournament will return to King’s Fork where the Bulldogs will tip off against the Presidents on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. Both Wilson and King’s Fork will advance to the VHSL Class 4 State Tournament. The winner Friday will host a state quarterfinal game and the loser will hit the road next week.
– Andy Hilton
Thanks to video correspondent Antowyne Shaw of recruit757 for capturing the moment and helping us witness a historic game! – AH