HAVELOCK | Havelock sophomore Anthony Harris scored a game-high 23 points and blocked a potential game-winning shot  in the final seconds to preserve the Rams’ 69-68 win over Jacksonville in a Coastal 3-A boys’ basketball game Friday in Havelock.

Harris, playing with four fouls, got a piece of Jacari Boone’s 3-point attempt at the buzzer.

“He’s young and doesn’t understand what that could have ended up being, but he is so gutsy and athletic and aggressive that it pays off for him,” said Havelock coach Daniel Griffee. “He wants to win as badly as anyone else.”

The Rams nearly blew a 15-point fourth-quarter lead, but a forced jump ball by Jeffrey Harris with less than a second remaining stopped Jacksonville’s momentum.

Boone, who scored 17 points for the Cardinals, had to let go of a near half-court attempt.

“Our start was great, exactly how we wanted. I just want us to finish better, but I will take a win any day of the week,” Griffee said.

Quinzel Lockhart added 20 points and nine rebounds for Havelock and Khalil Barrett contributed 14 points and 10 boards.

“Khalil is a stat-sheet stuffer,” Griffee said. “He might not always get a lot of points, but the boy gets tough rebounds. When he finishes and goes to the line and hits free throws, that’s huge for us.”

Dillon Stedman drained back-to-back threes to push Jacksonville’s deficit to nine late in the third quarter, but Jeffrey Harris’ three-point play extended Havelock’s advantage to 48-36.

Barrett scored on a three-point play with 7:16 remaining to punch the Rams’ lead to 53-38.

A couple buckets by Boone and a 3-pointer by Stedman with 3:04 to go abruptly closed the gap to 61-58.

Jacksonville took its first lead since the first quarter when Stedman snagged a rebound at hit a short jumper, giving the Cardinals a 65-64 lead.

Havelock scored the next five points, but Stedman popped in another three with 37 seconds remaining.

With the Rams clinging to a 69-68 lead, Jeffrey Harris forced a jump ball with less than a second on the clock. Anthony Harris blocked Boone’s shot as time expired.

“It showed that we aren’t going to quit. It showed the team that if they play for the full 32 minutes, some good things happen,” said Jacksonville coach Doug Erny.

Stedman scored 14 for the Cardinals and Tyler Hines chipped in 12.

Lockhart rocked the rim with a pair of two-handed jam that lifted the Rams to a 14-10 lead, but Jacksonville scored the final two buckets of the first quarter to even the score.

The Rams outscored Jacksonville, 16-10, over the next eight minutes to open a 30-24 advantage at halftime.

“I thought we started OK, we just weren’t playing good defense,” Erny said. “Everything they scored was either a layup or a 3-point shot. When you are playing man-to-man defense, you shouldn’t give up layups.

“We changed the defense up a little bit and it helped us out.”

Havelock (6-8, 2-3 Coastal 3-A) hosts West Craven next Friday. Jacksonville (7-8, 3-2) hosts White Oak.

Jacksonville      14     10      12     32 –  68

Havelock          14     16      18     21 – 69

JACKSONVILLE (68): Chris Coleman 6, Ivan Rodriguez 3, David Pickett 6, Tyler Hines 12, Aaron Reed 2, Nyjear Singleton 4, Jason Gidrey 2, Jacari Boone 17, Khadimou Dia 2, Dillon Stedman 14.

HAV ELOCK (69): Anthony Harris 23, Jeffrey Harris 7, Quinzel Lockhart 20, Khalil Barrett 14, Josh Reid 3, Kevon Hammond 2.

Rebounds: Jacksonville 34 (Reed 6), Havelock 26 (Barrett 10); Turnovers: Jacksonville 12, Havelock 10; 3-pointers: Jacksonville 7 (Boone 3, Stedman 4), Havelock 5 (A. Harris 3, J. Harris, Reid); Free throws: Jacksonville 8-11, Havelock 12-19. Records: Jacksonville 7-8, 3-2 Coastal 3-A, Havelock 6-8, 2-3. Up next: White Oak at Jacksonville, Friday; West Craven at Havelock, Friday.