JACKSONVILLE -- Havelock coach Daniel Griffee didn’t waste time pointing out the one big reason his Rams’ run in the Coastal 3A Conference boys’ basketball tournament ended Wednesday in the semifinals.
“We didn’t box out," he said. "We stayed straight up and we got caught ball watching. You can’t beat a team like White Oak when you don’t handle the boards.”
The third-seeded Rams were outrebounded 37 to 25 in a 60-53 loss to the second-seeded Vikings. The Vikings (19-5) owned a 25 to 13 edge in the first half.
And while White Oak only forced nine Havelock turnovers, the Vikings managed several transition points following long rebounds.
“The last time we played Havelock here, they had some effort plays,” White Oak coach Chris Grimes said. “Our bigs, especially, provided some of that tonight. Obviously our defense is what dictated a little bit of the long rebounds and with those we wanted to attack.”
The Rams (12-11) now look to get back on track when they open the NCHSAA playoffs Tuesday on the road. The playoff brackets will be released Saturday.
“We will get back in the gym and wait until Saturday to see where we will be traveling to,” Griffee said.
Anthony Harris led Havelock with 18 points, including 14 in the second half. Khalil Barrett added 17 points.
The Rams fell behind 34-20 early in the third quarter, but later got to within 42-38 following an 8-0 run to close the third period.
Havelock forced 13 second-half turnovers to get back into it. The Rams’ pressure gave White Oak fits.
Griffee was asked why the Rams didn’t apply the pressure sooner.
“We played (Tuesday) and … I didn’t want our legs to be gone in the fourth quarter,” he said. “And foul trouble killed the game plan, too.”