Cardinals score first 12 points en route to win in game featuring the league's top two teams
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Jacksonville was faster, bigger and more aggressive.
And as a result, the Cardinals had no trouble defeating Coastal 3-A Conference girls' basketball rival and previously unbeaten Havelock 70-32 on Tuesday night at The Bird Cage.
Senior Areon Laurent had 26 points and 9 rebounds and the Cardinals (10-2, 3-0) scored the game’s first 12 points en route to a win that put them in sole possession of first place in the conference.
“We had to follow our game plan and play with a lot of energy and push the ball up,” Laurent said. “Our defensive game plan was to … if their point guard couldn’t handle the ball, she couldn’t give it to their shooters.”
Senior Kiani Gravely added 18 points, sophomore Kennedy Todd-Williams had 15 points and 9 rebounds and junior Nya Mitchels added 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Cardinals.
Havelock junior Aniyla Bryant, who recorded her 1,000th career point Friday at Northside, was held to just 12 points.
The Rams (10-1, 2-1) simply had no answer for the Cardinals.
“When the wheels fell off, the wheels fell off,” Havelock coach Anna Spear said. “We had to be ready to break pressure and we didn’t do that.”
Laurent was hot early as she scored Jacksonville’s first 5 points and 8 of the first 9. Todd-Williams then capped the 12-0 run to start the game with a 3-pointer.
“I think after one of us drew a foul early in the game, we got all hyped,” Laurent said. “We were pumped up and it carried over for the whole game.”
The Rams’ first score didn’t come until with 3:25 left in the opening period when Bryant made a layup.
Jacksonville was only 7 of 21 from the field and committed 5 turnovers in the first quarter while Havelock was 3 of 17 and turned it over just twice in that span.
The difference in the opening eight minutes was the Cardinals’ ability to get in transition. Jacksonville then shot 7 of 11 in the second quarter, including two 3-pointers by Gravely.
“Our game is a transition type,” JHS coach Monique Gidrey said. “We knew we had to be aggressive from the start.”
The Cardinals certainly were all over the court.
Not only did their transition play a big part in the win, Jacksonville’s height was also key. The 6-foot-3 Mitchels was complemented by 6-2 Makayla Gidrey inside. Gidrey only had 1 point, but grabbed 8 rebounds. Jacksonville owned a 57 to 25 edge on the glass.
“I knew our bigs had to play well,” Monique Gidrey said.
Jacksonville now looks toward Friday’s game at Northside. Havelock, meanwhile, visits West Carteret.
“We will just get ready for the next game,” Spear said. “We are still trying to win the conference.”
Bryant 12, Brown 2, Blango 9, Williams 4, Fisher 5. Totals– 12-53 5-14 32.
Todd-Williams 15, Laurent 26, Mitchels 10, Gravely 18, Gidrey 1. Totals– 25-58 10-14 70.
3-point goals–H 3 (Bryant, Blango, Fisher). J 10 (Laurent 6, Gravely 3, Todd-Williams). Rebounds–H 25 (Brown 5). J 57 (Mitchels 10, Todd-Williams 9, Laurent 9, Gidrey 8). RECORDS–H: 10-1, 2-1, at West Carteret on Friday. J: 10-2, 3-0, at Northside on Friday.
Chris Miller can be contacted via email at email@example.com or by calling 910-219-8472