Havelock kicked off March Madness just a few days early.
David Carter hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer, as the seventh-seeded Rams opened the state playoffs with a 56-53 victory over South Central Monday night at Havelock High.
“I don’t know what to think right now,” Carter said shortly after being mobbed by teammates at center court. “I’m just happy we won.”
Tenth-seeded South Central (17-10) had tied the game at 53 on Brian Brightwell’s basket with 11 seconds left. Havelock called timeout and came up with a play for Carter to get the ball to leading scorer Zack Bruns or Matt Prichard, who led the Rams with 20 points on the night.
“When I looked at the court, they (South Central) were playing tight, so I just had to take the shot,” said Carter, who scored 11 in the game. “I jumped to pass the ball, and then it was like ‘forget it.’”
The bucket was sweet redemption for Carter, who had a turnover and missed a free throw in the final two minutes of the game before hitting the game-winner.
“I told D.J. (Carter) he owed us that because he had turned the ball over a couple of times,” Havelock coach Bill Fryczynski said.
The victory sends Havelock (17-9) into the second round against second-seeded Triton (23-3) Wednesday in Erwin. Triton beat No. 15 Northern Nash (8-14) 54-52 in the first round.
Havelock fell behind early in a tight first half, which ended with the Rams on top 25-24 behind Prichard’s 10 points.
In the third quarter, Prichard hit a pair of 3-pointers and Bruns hit another as the Rams used an 11-3 run to open a 40-30 lead. The quarter ended with the Rams on top 45-35.
“In the middle of the game, I was just trying to hustle and play as hard as I can, knowing that if we lost, it would be my last game in high school,” said Prichard, a senior. “They set some good screens, and I got open and hit the shots.
“I’m real happy we got the win and that D.J. was able to hit that shot.”
South Central rallied in the fourth, slowly eating away at Havelock’s lead until Brightwell’s basket tied it with 11 seconds left.
“We committed some turnovers that were horrendous,” Fryczynski said. “We had things set up and still turned the ball over. It was a good game, but it was sloppy. They missed a lot of opportunities, and I thought we gave them some opportunities.”
The game was the fourth meeting between the two Coastal 3A Conference teams, the third within 21 days, all three of which were Havelock victories.
“They’re better than a No. 10 seed,” Fryczynski said. “When you look at the brackets, it’s really unfortunate. I don’t think we should have been matched up against each other.”
Still, the Rams were able to pull out the victory.
“Survive and advance,” Fryczynski said.
Maybe it’s March after all.
SC 13 11 11 18 -53
Hav 14 11 20 11 -56
South Central (53) – Brian Brightwell 14, Ethan Rogerson 12, Remele Hicks 8, J.C. Simpson 7, Tyrik Suggs 6, Majestic Jordan 2, Saleik Edwards 2, Jae’Tavon Edwards 2.
Havelock (56) – Matt Prichard 20, Zack Bruns 13, David Carter 11, Pharoh Cooper 10, Matt Boykin 2.
Havelock girls 56, Hertford County 48
The Havelock High girls advanced through the first round of the playoffs, beating Hertford County on the road Monday night.
The 13th-seeded Rams (16-11) had to travel to Ahoskie to play the Bears (7-15), which earned the fourth seed by being the best 3A team in the combined 3A/2A Northeast Coastal Conference.
Details of the contest were not immediately available.
Havelock advances to play at 12th-seeded C.B. Aycock (13-13) on Wednesday night. C.B. Aycock defeated No. 5 South Brunswick (5-20) 52-20 in Monday's first round.