VANCEBORO | On a neutral court at West Craven, the Jacksonville Cardinals closed with a stingy fourth quarter defensively to defeat Havelock, 58-53, for the Coastal 3A Conference Tournament championship.
Jacksonville held Havelock to just nine points in the final frame, outscoring them 15-9.
While Rams’ star guard Aniylah Bryant shouldered her load with 30 points, no one else in white and black reached double-figures.
Taylor Todd-Williams paced the Cardinals with 23 points and made 3-of-4 from the free throw line to help ice the game.
“We did a couple different things with our defense, tried to throw some different looks at them,” Jacksonville coach Monique Gidrey said.
“We focused on her (Bryant) and for her to still score 30 points, that’s a phenomenal effort and it was by Havelock as a whole.”
The Cardinals exacted some revenge from a year ago by beating the Rams in tourney finale; a feat the Rams accomplished them in 2015-16.
Gidrey said she expected a close finish.
Havelock led 31-27 at the half and 44-43 after three.
“We knew free throws were going to be big,” she said.
Jacksonville went to the charity stripe 24 times to Havelock’s eight.
The Cardinals outrebounded the Rams, 39-30, with Nya Mitchels, Todd-Williams and Kennedy Todd-Williams all with nine apiece.
Jacksonville 15 12 16 15 - 58
Havelock 15 16 13 9 – 53
Jacksonville (58) – Taylor Todd-Williams 23, Areon Laurent 12, Kennedy Todd-Williams 9, Kiani Gravely 5, Nya Mitchels 5, Kayla Marrero 4.
Havelock (53) – Aniylah Bryant 30, Isidre DeJesus 9, NyAsia Blango 8, Alexandria Brown 3, Keltsy Hardee 3.
Rebounds: Jacksonville – 39 (Mitchels, T. Todd-Williams, K. Todd-Williams – 9 apiece), Havelock – 30 (Bryant 7). Turnovers: Jacksonville – 21, Havelock – 20. Free throws: Jacksonville 10-for-24 (42 percent), Havelock 2-for-8 (25 percent). 3-pointers: Jacksonville – 6 (T. Todd-Williams 2, Laurent 2, K. Todd-Williams 1, Gravely 1.) Havelock – 9 (Bryant 4, DeJesus 3, Blango 2).
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