Championships are no stranger to Havelock High School this season - and not just on the football field.
Friday night, the Rams defeated Jacksonville 71-63 to clinch their first conference championship since 1992.
Havelock captured a holiday tournament championship at West Carteret earlier this season, the regular season Coastal 3A Conference crown and now, the tournament title to complete a hat trick.
“I’m not ready to exhale yet because we still have some business to take care of. It was a great game and I think the fans got their money’s worth,” Havelock Bill Fryczynski said.
The Rams led 36-25 at halftime, and then star guard Kyran Bowman went off for 17 of his game-high 28 points in the third quarter.
Havelock built a lead as large as 16 and led by 13 heading into the fourth.
That’s when the Cardinals made their comeback behind 14 fourth-quarter points from guard Chris Smith. Jacksonville got as close as six, but couldn’t draw any closer.
After a Cardinals’ possession that included multiple missed opportunities, Havelock’s Micheal Bowman iced the game at the free throw line with 4.3 seconds on the clock.
“Kyran was Kyran for us and Mo (Micheal Bowman) played well, but I was very impressed by Chris Smith in that fourth quarter,” Fryczynski said. “He just kept making shots in that fourth.”
Micheal Bowman finished with 15 points for Havelock, while Shondel Granison added 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Billy Bodette led Jacksonville with 23 points and 10 rebounds with Smith right behind him with 20 points.
“It was a good, clean, hard-nosed basketball game,” Jacksonville coach Doug Erny said. “I thought we played good “D” on the Bowman kids, they just made shots. Then, I thought we had a couple possessions that decided the game down the stretch where we didn’t get stops and didn’t get points.”
Havelock improves to 16-6 and awaits a playoff opponent on Monday. Jacksonville is 13-11.
Havelock (71) - Kyran Bowman 28, Micheal Bowman 15, Shondel Granison 12, Jordan Begley 9, Jordan Cuthbertson 3, Julian Cuthbertson 2,
Keion Joyner 2.
Jacksonville (63) - Billy Bodette 23, Chris Smith 20, Jeffrey Jordan 6, Denzel McKnight 5, Aaron Williams 5, Ivory Glynn 4.
Rebounds: Havelock - 33 (Kyran Bowman and Shondel Granison 10), Jacksonville - 25 (Billy Bodette 10). Turnovers: Havelock - 13, Jacksonville - 19. Records: Havelock 16-6, Jacksonville 13-11.
Jordan Honeycutt is a reporter for the Sun Journal.