Rams handle Swansboro 53-28

Havelock girls basketball coach Anna Spear thought the Rams played well in spurts against Swansboro in a Coastal 3A Conference Tournament game Tuesday at Havelock High.

It was one of those spurts – seven points off three straight steals in a 20-second span of the third quarter – that helped propel Havelock into Thursday night’s league title game with a 53-28 victory over the Pirates.

The Rams, defending league champions, will play Jacksonville at 6 p.m. Thursday at West Craven High School for the conference title and the league’s No. 1 seed for the upcoming playoffs. The two teams split during the regular season.

“It’s been the plan since the beginning of the season,” Spear said of reaching the league title game. “Now, we just have got to finish it and get back to where we were last year.”

Against Swansboro, the Rams (22-2) had a comfortable if not unspectacular 34-15 lead in the third quarter when a frustrated Spear called a time-out. Her team got the message. Havelock came up with three straight steals, with NyAsia Blango and Alexandria Brown converting two into layups and then Nseya Harden draining a 3-pointer in a span of 20 seconds, pushing Havelock’s margin to 41-15.

Blango had 14 points to lead the balanced Rams, while Brown added 10.

“Alex played real well off the bench,” Spear said. “Blango was able to penetrate and get dumps and lead to some great finishes. Blango made things happen.”

Havelock scored the game’s first 12 points, with Miranda Glover ending Swansboro’s drought with a 3-pointer at the 4:01 mark of the first quarter. The Pirates (12-14) trailed 17-3 after the first quarter.

“I thought that we came out and played scared,” Swansboro coach Kim Miller said. “We didn’t do the things that we are capable of doing. I thought we didn’t come out with the energy we needed. We picked it up here and there, but we didn’t sustain it, and you can’t do that against great teams like Havelock. You can’t take possessions off whether offensively or defensively, or they will make you pay, and they made us pay a lot.”

Swansboro’s man-to-man defense did slow the Rams in the second quarter, but Havelock managed to get rebounds and push the ball up the floor when the opportunities came.

“We had some really good spots, some transition spots,” Spear said. “We were able to rebound and start our transition, and when we get into that, we’re tough to handle. When we had a strong run, it was off the boards and off defensive turnovers.”

Seven Havelock players scored, with Harden adding nine points and Keltsy Hardee seven.

Danayah Cantoral had 10 points to lead the Pirates.

Boxscore

Swansboro 3 7 7 11 -28

Havelock 17 9 18 9 -53

Swansboro (28) – Danayah Cantoral 10, Miranda Glover 6, Jennifer Narvaez 4, Kaitlyn Kelley 2, Caitlyn Sigafose 2, Grayson Crittenden 2, Eliza Patterson 1, Macy Higgins 1.

Havelock (53) – NyAsia Blango 14, Alexandria Brown 10, Nseya Harden 9, Keltsy Hardee 7, Aniylah Bryant 5, Lanavaeh Fisher 5, Isidre DeJesus 3.