Pam Pack girls top Rams with late rally

Published 7:09 am Tuesday, February 19, 2008

By By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
Washington is in some unfamiliar territory. But it feels so good.
Sharita Grice threw in a baby hook with a minute to go and Hayley Stowe knocked down two huge free throws with five seconds to play, helping to lift the No. 4 seed Washington Pam Pack to a 45-41 win over No. 5 seed Havelock in the first round of the Coastal Conference girls basketball tournament. With Monday’s win, Washington (13-11) earned the third seed for the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 3-A state playoffs, while Havelock (15-10) will be the fourth seed.
The two teams split during the regular season.
The Pack advanced to Wednesday’s second-round game at South Central (23-0). The Falcons, ranked fourth in the latest 3-A poll, rolled over West Craven in Monday’s first-round game.
Sam Smith helped the Pack reach the second round as she poured in a game-high 17 points to go with 14 rebounds. Smith scored 11 of her points in a pivotal third quarter.
Early on, it looked like Washington would have an early exit as Alyssa Luebs and Shakira Wilson combined for 13 of Havelock’s points during an 18-12 first quarter. Both players went on to score 14 points. Luebs added 20 rebounds and two blocks.
The Pack helped to neutralize Luebs in the second quarter as the Rams scored just six points. Unfortunately for Washington, it couldn’t pull any closer as the Pack netted just six points as well.
Havelock took a 24-18 lead into the locker room.
Smith began to assert herself in the paint in the third. The senior continuously got inside for layups as she scored 11 points in the quarter. Smith twice helped pull the Pack within a single point, but Havelock was able to take a 34-31 edge into the fourth.
After another layup by Smith, Vantasia Palmer dropped in a short jumper to give the Pack a 35-34 lead with 6:37 to play. Simpkins then drained a jumper from the wing for a 37-34 advantage.
The Rams responded with five straight points, including a triple by Kahla Godeth that gave Havelock a 39-37 lead with 3:15 remaining.
Grice got inside for a layup and Smith followed suit a short time later, giving the Pack a 41-39 edge.
Wilson’s layup with 1:19 remaining tied it at 41-apiece.
Grice, who finished with six points, muscled inside and scored on her baby hook, giving Washington a 43-41 lead with a minute to play. It proved to be the game winner.
Stowe, who finished with 11 points, stole the ball following a Havelock timeout and she was immediately fouled with 5.2 seconds remaining. The sophomore calmly knocked down both shots to help ice the game for Washington.
Havelock 18 6 10 7 — 41
Washington 12 6 13 14 — 45
Alyssa Luebs 14, Shakira Wilson 14, Godeth 7, Hill 2, Thomas 2, K. McCaffity 2, M. McCaffity, Foster, Carter, Nelson, McMillian.
Sam Smith 17, Hayley Stowe 11, Simpkins 9, Grice 6, Palmer 2, Batchelor, Tackett, Weatherington.