HAVELOCK | Jacksonville had the height advantage so Havelock used its speed and ran.
Havelock’s defense had 25 steals and forced 31 turnovers in its 66-56 win over Jacksonville in a Coastal 3-A Conference girls’ basketball game Friday at Havelock High.
“We had to win here in our house because when we go down there to the Bird Cage, it’s going to be tough,” said Havelock coach Anna Spear. “These are the two best teams in the conference. We had to protect in our house.”
Aniylah Bryant and Alanna Williams scored 18 points apiece as the Rams (14-1, 5-0 Coastal 3-A) sit alone atop the conference standings after handing Jacksonville (14-1, 4-1) its first defeat.
NyAsia Blango contributed 11 points, four assists and four rebounds, while Nseya Harden added seven four assists and seven steals.
“We’ve been balanced all year. We have to keep it that way,” Spear said.
Bryant made two free throws to give Havelock a 21-point lead midway in the third quarter, and the Rams maintained a 60-42 lead by the end of the quarter.
The Cardinals didn’t get with their final deficit, of 10 points, until 21 seconds remaining after outscoring Havelock, 19-13, in the final quarter.
Jacksonville’s sophomore post-player Nya Mitchels had 23 points and seven boards.
Havelock hit Jacksonville with a 10-0 run to open the game, with Blango scoring the first eight points. The Cardinals marched back with an 11-0 spurt to take a lead.
Bryant’s three and a turnaround jumper by Williams at the end of the first quarter put the Rams up 25-17.
Havelock scored the first 11 points of the second quarter and led by as many as 21 after Isidre DeJesus’ 3-pointer.
Bryant and Blango scored 11 points apiece to assist in the Rams’ 43-27 halftime edge.
“It’s a game of runs,” Spear said. “We jumped out on them early and we knew they were going to come back and press us. We came back at them.”
Bryant also notched a game-high nine rebounds and seven steals. Keltsy Hardee chimed in with four points, four rebounds and six steals as she added height to Havelock’s starting lineup.
Kiani Gravely poured in 13 for Jacksonville and Kennedy Todd-Williams scored eight.
Havelock hosts West Craven on Friday, while Jacksonville hosts White Oak next Friday.
Jacksonville 17 10 15 19 – 56
Havelock 25 18 17 13 – 66
JACKSONVILLE (56): Kennedy Todd-Williams 8, Kayla Marrero 7, Taylor Todd-Williams 2, Nya Mitchels 23, Kiani Gravely 13, Lani Page 2, Samari Morrison 1.
HAVELOCK (66): Nseya Harden 7, Aniylah Bryant 18, Keltsy Hardee 4, NyAsia Blango 11, Alanna Williams 18, Isidre DeJesus 3, Lanavaeh Fisher 5.
Rebounds: Jacksonville 32 (K. Todd-Williams 8), Havelock 28 (Bryant 9); Turnovers: Jacksonville 31, Havelock 27; 3-pointers: Jacksonville 4 (Marrero, Gravely 3), Havelock 5 (Bryant 2, Harden, Blango, DeJesus); Free throws: Jacksonville 10-18, Havelock 15-24. Records: Jacksonville 14-1, 4-1 Coastal 3-A, Havelock 14-1, 5-0. Up next: White Oak at Jacksonville, Friday; West Craven at Havelock, Friday.