Havelock basketball coach Bill Fryczynski watched as his Rams ran out to an 18-point lead on Cardinal Gibbons in the first round of the state playoffs Monday at Havelock High.
He also watched as the Crusaders made a late charge to get back into the game in the fourth quarter.
“We’ve been doing that a lot lately,” Fryczynski said.
In the end, the Rams hit 6 of 10 free throws and got a breakaway dunk from Kyran Bowman in the closing 85 seconds as Havelock advanced with a 68-55 victory.
Sixth-seeded Havelock (17-6) held a 50-32 lead with 2 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter, but the 27th-seeded Crusaders (13-14) cut the margin to 52-40 entering the fourth quarter and then crawled within 59-53 with 1:01 left in the game. Bowman hit a pair of free throws, as did Micheal Bowman, and when Cardinal Gibbons couldn’t convert on the other end, Matt Boykin bounced a pass off the backboard for Kyran Bowman, who grabbed the ball in mid-air and slammed home the deciding two points that all but sealed a trip to the second round of the playoffs for the Rams.
“I was really worried about this game,” Fryczynski said. “Knowing that they were from Raleigh, the basketball out in that neck of the woods is a little more sophisticated than it is around the coast. Those kids knew how to play.”
Kyran Bowman led Havelock with 25 points, while Keion Joyner added 14, including nine in the first half when the Rams used a 23-7 run in the second quarter to lead 34-22 at halftime.
“He had a very good game and did a very good job defensively,” Fryczynski said of Joyner. “He made some shots. He had been in a little slump there for a while.”
Cardinal Gibbons got 22 points from Justin Reid and 12 from Moses Romachi.
Havelock advances to play 11th-seeded Rocky Mount (16-8), which beat Eastern Guilford 77-63, in a second-round game at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Havelock High.
Gibbons 15 7 18 15 -55
Havelock 11 23 18 16 -68
Cardinal Gibbons (55)– Justin Reid 22, Moses Romachi 12, John Cunningham 8, Blane Benson 5, Oliver Lynche Daniels 4, Alex Lai 4.
Havelock (68)– Kyran Bowman 25, Keion Joyner 14, Micheal Bowman 10, Shondel Granison 8, Jordan Begley 5, Jordan Cuthbertson 4, Matt Boykin 2.