Haines City Falls to Nova, 47-44, in 7A Semifinal
Fri. February 22, 2013 at 8:46 p.m. | By Mike Cobb
Haines City's Jasmyn Brown (22) shoots between Nova's Kian Lurry (23) and Deja Roberts (#15) in the class 7A semifinal (Photo by Scott Wheeler | The Ledger)
By MIKE COBB
LAKELAND | Davie Nova’s fast second-half start was more than Haines City's fast finish could overcome Friday in the Class 7A girls basketball state semifinals.
Nova built an 11-point lead with a 16-3 run to start the second half and held off Haines City’s rally in the closing minutes to beat the Hornets, 47-44, at The Lakeland Center.
With the win, Nova (22-7) moves on to today’s Class 7A championship game at 5:05 p.m., against Gainesville Buchholz. Haines City ends its season with a 25-5 record.
Hornets coach LaDreda Akins said it was a case of the Hornets not playing their game until the fourth quarter.
“First of all, we didn’t start out in our game,” Akins said. “Our game plan was actually the way we played in the fourth quarter. That’s the how we’re supposed to start off the game because that’s what Haines City is about. We’re a very good defensive team.”
After falling behind by 11 points, 28-17, in the third quarter, the Hornets twice pulled within one late in the game – 41-40 and 45-44. After the first time, they had the ball and a chance to take the lead but turned it over.
The second time came when Ja’DeshiaJohnson scored, stole an inbounds pass and scored again with 26 seconds left. Nova’s Kiani Lurry made two free throws with 14 seconds left to put the lead back to three.
Lurry, who led all scorers with 20 points, was a perfect 10-for-10 from the line for the game including 6-for-6 in the final 1:02 of the game.
“I just took a couple of deep breaths behind the line before I got the ball, then wiped the sweat off my hands,” Lurry said of her poise in making the clutch free throws.
After Lurry’s final two free throws, the Hornets had one more chance to tie it, but Qushonda Florence’s 3-point attempt to tie it bounce off the rim.
The first three quarters were played more at Nova’s pace, which is a slower, half-court game. Haines City had leads of 5-4 after the first quarter and 14-12 at the half.
Bernadette DeVaney started the third quarter with a 3-pointer that gave Nova a lead it never lost and sparked the Titans’ 14-1 run to start the half.
“I think that was big,” DeVaney said. “It gave us a confidence uplift. It let us know the game wasn’t over.”
DeVaney capped the 16-3 run with another 3-pointer to give the Titans a 28-17 lead.
“It seemed like they came out with energy and we didn’t,” said Haines City forward Jasmyn Brown, who had 12 points and 13 rebounds. “They took care of the ball and we didn’t, they played defense and we didn’t, they made their free throws and we didn’t.”
Foul trouble also plagued the Hornets with Jone’ Akins and Jasmine Reddick both eventually fouling out.
Still, the Hornets trimmed Nova’s lead to seven, 30-23, by the end of the third quarter, to three, 36-33, by midway through the fourth, and to one, 41-40, with 1:19 to play.
“I think if we would’ve taken the lead, we probably would’ve maintained it,” Akins said. “We’ve been in that situation before and closed it out.”
HAINES CITY (44): Brekia Henderson 6-14 1-2 14, Jasmine Reddick 0-0 0-2 0, Jone’ Akins 2-9 2-3 6, Ja’Deshia Johnson 5-16 2-2 12, Jasmyn Brown 5-13 1-3 12, Qushonda Florence 0-1 0-0 0, Morayo Onagorumwa 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 18-53 6-12 44.
NOVA (47): Rishonti Cowart 1-3 0-0 2, Bernadette DeVaney 5-14 0-0 12, Deja Roberts 2-5 0-0 4, Kiani Lurry 5-9 10-10 20, Trellanie English-Lurry 3-6 1-3 7, Akeyla Johnson 0-0 0-0 0, Madelyn Corassa 1-3 0-1 2. Totals 17-40 11-14 47.
Haines City 5 9 9 21 – 44
Davie Nova 4 8 18 17 – 47
3-point FGs: Haines City 2-5 (Henderson 1-2, Brown 1-2, Florence 0-1); Nova 2-10 (DeVaney 2-7 Roberts 0-1, Lurry 0-2). Rebounds: Haines City 37 (Brown 13), Nova 29 (Lurry 12). Assists: Haines City 7 (Henderson 3), Nova 7 (English-Lurry 4). Records: Haines City 25-5, Nova 22-7.