Havelock won previous meeting with Jacksonville

HAVELOCK - The last time the Havelock girls' basketball team faced Jacksonville, the stakes were higher than the previous two regular-season meetings.

Those high stakes of a conference tournament championship seemed to infuse the Rams (23-2) with confidence and adrenaline as they upset the Cardinals, 61-58, on a neutral court.

Saturday at 4 p.m., the two will take over a neutral court again, this time in the NCHSAA 3A Eastern Regional Final at Minges Coliseum in Greenville.

The winner advances to the state final March 10.

That most recent win over the Cardinals changed a lot for the Rams as it showed them that they can beat Jacksonville.

Havelock lost in blowout fashion at Jacksonville, 70-32, back on Jan. 16 and then lost at home to the Cardinals in a closer game, 73-55 Jan. 30.

Those two losses are the only ones Havelock has suffered this season.

Havelock's playoff run started at home versus Northwood (61-48 win), then 67-51 over East Wake, followed by a 58-56 win over Eastern Guilford and most recently a 47-41 victory at EE Smith.

The Rams are the No. 10 seed going against Jacksonville's No. 1 seed.

Jacksonville is 22-3 with two losses to Laney and the one to the Rams.

Havelock figures to depend heavily on star guards Aniylah Bryant and NyAsia Blango in addition to frontcourt players Alanna Williams, Alexandria Brown and Nseya Harden.

The Cardinals are led by Areon Laurent, Kennedy Todd-Williams, Kiani Gravely and Nya Mitchels.

Both coaches know the task at hand.

Jacksonville's head coach Monique Gidrey is not stunned in the least that it's the Rams her team will face with a trip to the state championship game on the line.

"I’m not surprised at all,” Gidrey said of Havelock's run to the regional final. “She (Spear) is a great coach. I don’t care what kind of talent you have, when you have that veteran type of coach she’s going to pull some stuff out and they’re going to play for her.”

Admission is $9 and there will be also a $10 charge per vehicle for parking.

Jordan Honeycutt can be reached at 252-635-5670 or at jordan.honeycutt@newbernsj.com