By now, every coach in the Coastal 3A Conference knows of Havelock’s Bowman brothers. But stopping sophomore Kyran and junior Micheal is no easy task.
White Oak couldn’t do it in the tournament semifinals on Wednesday night, and in the end, that meant a trip home after a 69-62 loss.
“I think Havelock’s penetrators, mainly the Bowman brothers, just finished around the rim,” White Oak coach Chris Grimes said. “It was mainly drives to the basket. They were getting great looks from a short distance.
“Kyran’s a special player. He made a lot of contested shots in the second half at critical moments.”
Kyran Bowman led the Rams with 39 points. Brother Micheal added 15.
“The Bowman brothers, even though they missed a couple of free throws there in the fourth quarter, it’s just tough to deal with them,” Havelock coach Bill Fryczynski said.
White Oak (14-11) tied the game at 49 with 6:29 left on Kendall White’s drive to the basket. Micheal Bowman answered with a bucket, sparking a 5-0 spurt to give the Rams (14-6) the lead. Kyran Bowman then scored nine points in the final 3:34 keep the Vikings at bay the rest of the way.
“Kyran is the difference,” Fryczynski said. “He came up with some big baskets. If you need a basket, he’s going to get it.
“He is really just the best player in the area. I can’t say anything else. You’re lucky when you get a kid like that, real lucky.”
White scored 22 points to lead the Vikings, including six in the fourth quarter as White Oak battled until Kyran Bowman’s two free throws put the Rams up 67-62 with 34 seconds left.
“Kendall really stepped up,” Grimes said. “He really went to the basket with authority and was also able to provide us with some rebounds to help us stay in the ball game.”
The Vikings scored the first six points of the game, but the Rams went on a 13-5 run to close the quarter and then maintained a 32-27 lead at halftime. The Vikings went on a 7-0 run in the third quarter, including two buckets from Walter McClendon, tying the game at 45 and setting the stage for a tight fourth quarter.
With the victory, the Rams advance to the championship game to take on Jacksonville at 7:30 p.m. on Friday at Havelock High. The last time the two teams played on Feb. 7, Havelock won 104-64.
“I think that was a bit of a fluke,” Fryczynski said of the last meeting between the two teams. “Jacksonville’s better than that. They’ve proven they’re better than that. We’re going to have to play well to beat them. We’re going to have to play better than we did tonight if we want to win this thing.”
White Oak will await its fate in hopes of getting a wildcard entry into the state playoffs.
“We just have to get back to work in practice these next two days and get better in hopes that we play next week,” Grimes said.
White Oak 13 14 20 15 -62
Havelock 16 16 17 20 -69
White Oak (62)– Kendall White 22, Jalen Garrison 12, Noah Snowden 8, Bobby Smith 7, Antione Robinson 5, Walter McClendon 4, Anibal Aviles 2, Aaron Christoff 2.
Havelock (69)– Kyran Bowman 39, Micheal Bowman 15, Matt Boykin 7, Jordan Begley 4, Jordan Cuthbertson 2, Julian Cuthbertson 1, Keion Joyner 1.