Once Nova’s three-point ace Bernadette Devaney went into heat check mode, Miami Monsignor Pace knew it was in deep trouble.
Devaney continued to build her case as arguably the best pure shooter in Florida with seven three-pointers and a career-high 32 points to lead host Nova past the Spartans 83-52 on Saturday night.
“I can usually tell in warmups if I’m going to shoot the ball well,” Devaney said. “I just wanted to show out this game. I love shooting threes because it gets the crowd pumping and my teammates excited. I think psychologically the three-pointer puts the other team down.”
Shrugging off a Miami Pace defense designed to get the ball out of her hands, Devaney scored 20 first-half points to help the Titans (4-2) build a commanding 50-35 halftime lead.
Devaney added two three-pointers and 12 points in the third quarter before Nova coach Jason Hively ended his shooting star’s big night for good by emptying the bench.
How Devaney handles the added defensive attention going from the third scoring option on Nova’s surprising run to the Class 7A State semifinals last season, when they lost to 51-45 to eventual Class 7A state champion Sebastian River, to Nova’s main scorer will likely play a huge role in Nova’s bid for a return trip to Lakeland.
“Tonight really showed Bernadette’s ability to shoot the ball,” Hively said. “Her biggest attribute is she is a competitor. She is willing to take and make the big shots. Pace was doing a lot of trapping with their defense so we didn’t want to set up a lot of offense. It was just basic basketball tonight, and Bernadette was knocking them down.”
If not for Devaney’s three-point explosion, all the talk would have been about sophomore guard Kianni Lurry, who put on her own show with a career-high 23 points.
Devaney’s three-point shooting opened up lanes for Lurry to attack the basket with reckless abandon and keep possessions alive with offensive rebounds.
Trellanie English-Lurry added 13 points for the Titans who extended a dominant home record to 22-1 in the past three seasons.
Pace’s best stretch came midway through the second quarter when Brandi Harrington, who tied Makaila McCloud with a team-high 18 points for the Spartans, scored six straight points and McCloud added a three-pointer to pull Pace within 38-28.
But the Titans snuffed out any momentum Pace (3-4) might have going into halftime when Lurry converted a steal and layup off an inbounds pass, English-Lurry tipped in Lurry’s missed free-throw attempt and Devaney added a three-point dagger in front of the Pace bench to push the lead to 48-31 with 35 seconds left in the second quarter.
Nova 83, Miami Pace 52 - MP (3-4): McCloud 18, Harrington 18, Floyd 6, Brown 6, Samuel 2, Nairn 2. Nova (4-2): Devaney 32, English-Lurry 13, Lurry 23, Cowart 6, Duncanson 5, Corazza 2, Gutierrez 2. Halftime: Nova 50-35. Three-pointers: Devaney 7, English-Lurry, Duncanson, McCloud 2, Floyd, Brown.
MORE GIRLS’ BASKETBALL
Late Friday — Cardinal Gibbons 50, Pembroke Pines Charter 45 - CG (4-1): Williams 18, Jones 15, Pollock 11, Lanzon 4, Cohen 2. PPC (1-5): Gonzalez 15, Perez 11, Provenzano 9, Boston 6, Devesa 4. Halftime: CG 28-25. Rebounds: Jones 12, Pollock 8, Cohen 8. Assists: Ozaltin 2. Steals: Williams 6.