The Havelock boys basketball team couldn’t win a conference championship on Friday night. But, they certainly could have lost one.
The Rams overcame a sluggish start and pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 72-59 victory over Washington Friday at Havelock High.
The victory gives the Rams a 10-7 mark overall and 8-2 in the Coastal 3A Conference with four games left to play. Two of those are against the top two teams in the league, South Central on Tuesday and West Craven on Feb. 14. Both games are at Havelock High.
The game was tied 26-26 at halftime, and Washington took a 37-36 lead on a bucket by Stephon Moore with 5:23 left in the third quarter. Zack Bruns answered with a basket 20 seconds later, and the Rams built a 49-45 lead going into the fourth quarter.
Havelock opened the final eight minutes with an 8-2 and finished it with a 9-2 spurt.
“We put the pressure on them and turned it up,” Havelock coach Bill Fryczynski said. “We knew that if we kept the pressure up and make plays, don’t do anything slick but just make plays, we thought it would wear them down.”
Matt Boykin scored three points but proved a key defensively for the Rams, going to the floor at least three times to come up with loose balls.
“That’s why he played so many minutes,” Fryczynski said. “He did a good job off the bench.”
Bruns led the Rams with 21 points, while Matt Prichard added 15 and Pharoh Cooper 13.
The game marked the end of a four-day stretch in which the Rams played three games, all victories.
“Everyone had to play three games, and that’s no excuse, but two of them were away, and we only had one hour of practice and that did not go well and that carried over,” Fryczynski said. “We’ll take the weekend off and come back Monday and get ready for South Central on Tuesday. We’ve got a big opportunity. We could get into second place in the conference.”
The Rams had few problems with the outmatched Pam Pack, which didn’t make a basket from the field until the third quarter, in a 56-16 conference victory.
Havelock improved to 10-8 overall and maintained their position in the fourth of five league playoff spots, improving to 5-5 in the conference.
Havelock led 16-2 after the first quarter, and Washington managed just a single free throw in the second quarter, as the Rams pulled ahead 37-3 at intermission.
Washington’s first made basket from the field came with 6:51 left in the third quarter and actually helped the Pam Pack outscore the Rams 9-5 in the period.
However, the Rams re-established their dominance in the fourth quarter, scoring the first 12 points and never looking back.
Shakina Dyer led a balanced Havelock attack with 13 points, while Natalie Johnson had 12 and Apriel Barrette 11.
Wash 14 12 19 14 -59
Hav 8 18 23 23 -72
Washington (59) – Stevie Green 22, Tyvon Copeland 11, D.J. Bell 8, Stephon Moore 6, Trey Brunson 3, Tarahje Burke 3, John Tate 2, James Austin 2, John Whitney 2.
Havelock (72) – Zack Bruns 21, Matt Prichard 15, Pharoh Cooper 13, Shondel Granison 7, David Carter 7, Mike Richards 6, Matt Boykin 3.
Wash 2 1 9 4 -16
Hav 16 21 5 14 -56
Washington (16) – Kiara Smith 5, Shana Midgette 3, Sheena Blount 2, Erica Alligood 2, Stasha Boston 2, Abby Walker 2.
Havelock (56) – Shakina Dyer 13, Natalie Johnson 12, Apriel Barrette 11, Iesha Cooper 5, Shaolin McKinley 5, Kiera Fleming 4, Jalisa Wilson 4, Alaya Fenderson 2.