White Oak had captured all of the momentum.
After trailing by 12 points midway through the third quarter, the Vikings managed to tie Havelock at 39-39 in the fourth quarter on Monday night.
But White Oak ran out of gas and ultimately dropped a 54-40 decision to the Rams in a game featuring the top two teams in the Coastal 3A Conference.
Havelock (11-5, 8-0) held White Oak to just one fourth-quarter field goal and allowed just one point in the final five minutes to record their second win this season over the Vikings (11-7, 5-2) and seize control in the conference race.
Earlier, White Oak lost the girls’ game to Havelock 48-28.
“I feel like Havelock stepped up their intensity and really limited us to just one shot. They did a solid job of boxing out,” White Oak coach Chris Grimes said. “We just didn’t make shots down the stretch. We had good looks, but it wasn’t our night.”
The Rams, who were led by Kyran Bowman’s 24 points and 11 rebounds, led 34-22 with 4:44 left in the third quarter. However, White Oak used a 10-2 run late in the period to get to within 36-32.
Trailing by four after three quarters, the Vikings scored the first four points of the fourth quarter to tie the game at 39-39 on a free throw by Noah Snowden with 5:50 left.
Then it was all Havelock, who defeated the Vikings 59-58 on Dec. 17.
Michael Bowman scored on a tip-in with 3:55 left to give the Rams a 41-39 lead and spark a 7-0 Havelock run. White Oak’s Cedrick Harris made a free throw with 1:27 remaining to cut the Vikings’ deficit to 46-40, but the Rams scored the final eight points to pull away.
“I think we had a little more depth than them today,” Havelock coach Bill Fryczynski said. “One of the things I thought we had to do was go a little bit smaller. That’s why I put (Michael) Bowman in there because he’s probably our best athlete on the team. What we tried to do offensively was just spread out once we got inside three minutes. Defensively, we just told them to guard, keep kids in front of them and no fouls. I think we did a pretty good job of that.”
The Vikings were hurt late when senior Kendall White fouled out with 3:37 left with Havelock leading 41-39. White drew his fifth foul on an offensive foul call.
“Obviously he’s our best athlete and he can play a variety of positions, offensively,” Grimes said. “So losing that versatility on offense put us out of whack for a couple of positions after he fouled out.”
Snowden led White Oak with 15 points and eight rebounds. He had 11 points in the second half to help the Vikings get back in the game after falling behind by double digits.
Harris added nine points, scoring eight in the third quarter to also help the Vikings rally. He made a 3-pointer with 1:35 left in the third quarter to pull WOHS to within 38-35.
“Cedrick gave us a huge lift in the third quarter,” Grimes said.
But Kyran Bowman was just too strong to let Havelock lose.
The 6-foot-2 sophomore had 16 second-half points, and most of the time when the Rams needed a big shot, he delivered. He was also 10 of 14 from the free throw line.
“This is typical of him,” Fryczynski said. “He’s an everything player for us and he leads us in just about every statistical category. I think he’s going to be a big-time player before his time at Havelock is up.”
A White Oak team without a Coastal Conference win stood toe-to-tie with a Havelock squad looking for a league title as the Vikings trailed just 23-20 at halftime.
However, the Rams opened the third quarter on a 10-0 run and never looked back en route to a victory over the Vikings (2-13, 0-7).
Apriel Barrette finished with 15 points for the Rams (11-6, 7-1), who had defeated the Vikings 71-36 on Dec. 17.
“Young mistakes,” WOHS coach Carolyn Ashdown said. “A couple of bad turnovers, they made baskets in transition and we didn’t score. We went a long time in the third quarter without even a bucket.”
The Vikings’ first second-half points came when Hailey Czigler made a 3-pointer with 3:38 left in the period to cut White Oak’s deficit down to 33-23. But the Vikings scored just five more points in the game.
Emily McLain led the Vikings with nine points and seven rebounds while Czigler added eight points.
Havelock 16 7 19 6 — 48
White Oak 10 10 5 3 — 28
Johnson 8, Barrette 15, Cooper 6, Frazier 6, Wilson 8, McKinley 3, Beall 2. Totals— 21-56 3-10 48.
WHITE OAK (28)
McLain 9, Krick 5, Pawlowski 6, Czigler 8. Totals— 12-46 1-4 28.
3-Point Goals— H 3 (Frazier 2, McKinley). W 3 (Czigler 2, Krick). Rebounds— H 38 (Wilson 8, Coyne 6). W 34 (McLain 7). RECORDS— H: 11-6, 7-1, at Swansboro on Thursday. W: 2-13, 0-7, hosts Swansboro on Wednesday.
Havelock 11 15 13 15 — 54
White Oak 13 7 15 5 — 40
K. Bowman 24, M. Bowman 8, Boykin 2, Joyner 5, Cuthbertson 2, Granison 11, Begley 2. Totals— 20-43 13-20 54.
WHITE OAK (40)
Garrison 7, Harris 9, White 6, Hale 3, Snowden 15. Totals— 15-49 7-15 40.
3-Point Goals— H 1 (Granison). W 3 (Harris 2, Garrison). Rebounds— H 39 (K. Bowman 11, Granison 9). W 27 (Snowden 8). RECORDS— H: 11-5, 8-0, at Swansboro on Thursday. W: 11-7, 5-2, hosts Swansboro on Wednesday.
Chris Miller is a reporter for the Jacksonville Daily News.