Swansboro went on a 10-0 run spanning the end of the third quarter and beginning of the fourth to defeat Havelock 45-36 in the semifinals of the Coastal 3A Conference Tournament Wednesday at Havelock High.
Natalie Johnson’s two free throws drew the second-seeded Rams (14-9) within 26-22 with 2:54 left in the third quarter, but Havelock didn’t score for the next 5:09. The third-seeded Pirates (17-6) extended to the lead to 42-28 on a layup from Alex Watkins with 2:08 to play and coasted the rest of the way.
“I was very pleased with us playing composed most of the time,” Swansboro coach Kim Miller said. “That was the game plan we needed to use. We try to run-and-gun with other teams if that’s their style, and for us, that’s not our style. We have to play deliberate, run our offense and get the best shot.”
Swansboro took a 6-3 lead in a slow first quarter. Vanessa Coyne’s two free throws and Shaolin McKinley’s 3-pointer to end the second quarter got the Rams within 19-12 at halftime. McKinley hit another 3-pointer in the third quarter to get Havelock close, but in the end, the Rams didn’t have enough offense to overcome a balanced Pirate attack.
“We don’t have one overall player,” Miller said. “It’s a team. Every night somebody different steps up. Defensively, we key in on the opponents’ best scorers, and that was No. 32 (McKinley) and No. 3 (Johnson). The whole thing is to disrupt their points and use our team approach on the offensive end for us.”
Swansboro advances to play West Craven in Friday’s tournament championship at 6 p.m. Friday at Havelock High.
Havelock has clinched a playoff spot and will await the brackets that are expected to be released on Saturday.
Swansboro 6 13 13 13 -45
Havelock 3 9 10 14 -36
Swansboro (45)– Alex Watkins 16, Ashton Champion 8, Abby Taylor 8, Kylie Cleve 8, Ashley Oriol 3, Aryanna Fahnestock 2.
Havelock (36)– Shaolin McKinley 8, Natalie Johnson 8, Vanessa Coyne 6, Emily Bowman 6, Jalisa Wilson 4, Dominique Martinez 2, Ieisha Cooper 2.