Havelock’s MVP, all-everything football player Pharoh Cooper returned to the basketball court on Tuesday night.
Cooper’s putback at the buzzer lifted Havelock to a 68-67 victory over D.H. Conley in a Coastal 3A Conference game at Havelock High.
"It was in the nick of time," Cooper said of his game-winner. "I was Johnny on the spot, I guess."
After Matt Prichard tied the game at 66 for the Rams with a 3-pointer with 49 seconds left, D.H. Conley’s Jordan Williams hit a free throw at the other end with 29 seconds left, putting the Vikings in front 67-66.
Havelock’s David Carter put up a jumper with about six seconds left that missed the mark, but Prichard got the offensive rebound on the baseline and threw up an off-balance shot that was falling short until Cooper, in one move, grabbed the ball out of mid air and banked in the putback at the buzzer for the victory.
"That’s just the way I drew it up," Havelock coach Bill Fryczynski joked.
The contest was tight throughout, with Havelock’s biggest lead at six points and D.H. Conley’s at four. In the fourth quarter alone, there were five ties and three lead changes.
Prichard led the Rams with 17 points, while Zack Bruns had 14 and Cooper, playing his first basketball game since earning MVP honors in the state football championship game Dec. 1, contributed 9.
The victory gives the Rams (4-2) a 2-0 start in the league.
"This was a big game," Fryczynski said. "We’re two teams that are considered to be in the top half of the conference. Winning this one is big because we’re 2-0."
Havelock struggled most of the night with D.H. Conley’s interior game, with Josh Cox leading the Vikings (7-2, 0-2) with 32 points. That made getting two offensive rebounds in the final possession even bigger for the Rams.
"We’ve got to do a better job on the boards," Fryczynski said. "The last two games we had done a really good job on the boards. Conley is historically a good rebounding team, and Cox is an outstanding player. We got Pharoh back in the nick of time."
Michael Bowman, who had 10 points in the first half, was injured and did not play in the second half.
D.H. Conley girls 47
The Vikings scored five straight points — all from the free-throw line — midway through the fourth quarter and held off the Rams 47-43.
Kierra Fleming’s basket drew the Rams within 36-35 with 5:51 left, but Havelock didn’t score again until Fleming’s bucket with 2:01 remaining.
By then, the Vikings (6-3, 1-1) had managed to build a six-point lead and held on the rest of the way.
Havelock led 19-17 at halftime, but Conley’s LaVicia Wilson hit a 3-pointer with 5:13 left in the third quarter, breaking a 23-23 tie and giving the Vikings the lead for good.
Fleming had 12 points to lead the Rams, while Natalie Johnson had 11 and Shakina Dyer 8.
Havelock is next scheduled to play Eastern Wayne today at Eastern Wayne, with the junior varsity girls contest beginning at 4 p.m., and the junior varsity boys, varsity girls and varsity boys games to follow.