Kyran Bowman sat exhausted in a chair, elbows on his knees. The celebration in the Havelock High locker room went on around him.
“It was exciting,” he said quietly amid the shouts of teammates.
Bowman hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer, lifting the Rams to an 80-79 overtime victory over Rocky Mount in a second-round playoff game on Wednesday night at Havelock High.
“I’ll be dreaming about this one tonight,” Havelock coach Bill Fryczynski said. “I just hope I can get some sleep.”
Rocky Mount’s Dante Battle scored on an inside bucket with just seven seconds remaining, but that left enough time for Bowman to take the inbounds pass, drive up the court and launch a running 3-pointer from about 30 feet that found the basket as the horn sounded, setting off a court-storming celebration amid Havelock players and fans.
“We had to get a shot off quick because we didn’t have a time-out,” Bowman said. “I thought it was going in. I had my hands in the creases (of the ball) like (assistant coach Daniel) Griffee said, and whenever I have my hands in the creases, it goes in.”
The basket capped a 21-point night for the sophomore and a furious Havelock comeback in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter.
The 11th-seeded Gryphons held a 66-57 lead with 4 1/2 minutes left in regulation, but the sixth-seeded Rams went to a press that netted immediate results and got them back into the game. Trailing 73-68 with 50 seconds left, Havelock got a steal from Micheal Bowman and layup from Matt Boykin to get within 73-70, and then Keion Joyner drained a 3-pointer with eight seconds left, tying the game at 73 and sending the game into overtime.
“Coach (Fryczynski) said whoever was open to take the three, and I was wide open, so I had to take it,” said Joyner, who scored 18 of his 21 points in the second half and overtime.
Rocky Mount turned the ball over with three seconds left in regulation, but Kyran Bowman’s 3-pointer missed the mark and Shondel Granison’s tip-in attempt bounced off the front of the rim, sending the game to overtime.
Joyner scored Havelock’s first four points in the overtime, but Rocky Mount’s Isaiah Alston tied the contest at 77 with 1:40 left. Both teams missed free throws, and Havelock turned the ball over with 20 seconds left, setting up Battle’s bucket that put Rocky Mount in front 79-77 with seven seconds left.
The rest was up to Kyran Bowman.
“Kyran is going to get his points,” said Fryczynski, who watched as his leading scorer fought through a variety of box-and-one, man-to-man and zone defenses throughout the contest. “But, I thought what may have been the big difference was Keion. He had a bunch of points, a couple of blocks and that enormous 3-pointer.”
The contest was a fast-paced affair throughout. Rocky Mount (16-9) got out to an early 12-6 lead, but the Rams (18-6) cut the deficit to 22-21 at the end of the first quarter. The teams exchanged the lead in a second quarter that ended with the Gryphons ahead 41-37.
Rocky Mount hit 5 3-pointers in the first half but didn’t find the basket from long range in the second half or overtime.
“We came in at halftime and talked about how we had to stop them from shooting threes,” Joyner said. “We just had to step out on their shooters. We just played great as a team.”
Micheal Bowman, who also had 21 points, hit a 3-pointer and layup and later added a tip-in in a 9-3 spurt that helped the Rams lead 57-56 heading into the final quarter.
However, Battle scored six of his 20 points in a 10-0 run that put Rocky Mount in front 66-57 before the Rams rallied to advance to the third round of the playoffs for the second year in a row.
“Anything that happened in the fourth quarter and in the overtime, I had nothing to do with,” Fryczynski said. “It was out of my control. It was just all the kids. They made some bad decisions, but we survived them because we had a lot of heart. You can probably point to a mistake or two that everybody made, but it was just a will to win. That’s it in a nutshell. They just did not give up. They did not get down on themselves when they made a bad decision. They just kept on playing. They just had a lot of heart.”
Havelock advances to play third-seeded Terry Sanford, 44-42 winners over West Carteret in the second round, at 7 p.m. Friday in Fayetteville.
Rocky Mt. 22 19 15 17 6 -79
Havelock 21 16 20 16 7 -80
Rocky Mount (79) – Dante Battle 20, Broderick Caudle 16, Isaiah Alston 15, Jaquell Bryant 14, Immanuel King 10, Kenaz Cooper 4.
Havelock (80) – Kyran Bowman 21, Micheal Bowman 21, Keion Joyner 21, Shondel Granison 10, Matt Boykin 3, Julian Cuthbertson 2, Jordan Begley 2.
For video of Bowman's game-winning shot, click here: http://telly.com/1HZDM41