Nova is accustomed to being the smaller team.
Despite being outrebounded by a 41-28 margin, the Titans proved to be the clutch team in the fourth quarter, going on a 9-0 run late in the fourth to eliminate host Coconut Creek 46-39 in Thursday’s Class 4-7A regional quarterfinals.
“We’ve been the smaller team, it seems, the last three years,” Nova coach Jason Hiveley said. “We just adjust our game.”
His Titans (19-7) will face South Broward in the regional semifinals. The Cougars finished their season at 23-3.
“I thought our girls did a good job winning on the road the way they did,” Hiveley said, “especially the way they took over the fourth quarter.”
The game was last tied at 37-37 before Nova scored nine unanswered points in a two-minute span.
Juniors Bernadette Devancey, who finished with a game-high 20 points, and Kiani Lurry (14 points) scored all the points during the spurt, ending the run with Nova’s biggest lead at 46-37 with 1:20 remaining.
“We knew there was a chance we’d get outrebounded,” Devancey said, “so we had to make sure we covered ourselves on the offensive [possessions] with good, smart shots, and avoid the dumb fouls.”
Nova took a 27-24 halftime lead despite Creek’s advantage in rebounding (23-15). The Titans made up for their deficiency underneath with outside sharpshooting from Devancey, who led Nova with 15 first-half points, including three three-pointers.
Her second three-pointer off a pass from Trellaine England-Lurry gave the Titans their biggest lead of the half at 24-16 before Creek pecked away to close the gap to three.
The Cougars battled back, tying the score at 34 entering the fourth quarter before managing to score just two field goals the rest of the way.
Andreka Thompson and Tanease Richardson each scored seven points to lead the Cougars.
Richardson pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds.
NOVA: Devancey 20, Lurry 14, English-Lurry 4, Roberts 4, Lurry 2. CC: A. Thompson 7, Richardson 7, T. Thompson 6, Patterson 4, Josey 4, Mardis 4, Watson 2, Woods 2. Halftime: NOVA 27-24. Rebounds: T. Richardson 11. Assists: Devancey 5. Steals: Mardis 5.
After three seasons that included a district championship and two playoff seasons, coach Art Taylor stepped down from his post at Cooper City to accept the coaching job at Everglades High.
Taylor takes over for Rodney Rumph, who stepped down recently after only one season and a 4-6 record.
Taylor compiled a 23-11 record while at Cooper City, leading it to its first district championship in 2011 in a season that included the school’s first win over national powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas in 15 years. The Cowboys also won first-round playoff games in 2010 and 2011 — another first for the school.
“It’s always tough leaving behind kids and especially this group of kids that is so hard-working,” Taylor said. “The opportunity offered to me by Everglades was just too good to pass up, and I’m grateful to them for offering it to me.”
Before his stint at Cooper City, Taylor coached at Deerfield Beach, Zion Lutheran and Miami Sunset.
At Deerfield Beach, Taylor led the Bucks to the playoffs three times, including a state semifinal and regional final appearance.
At Sunset, he guided the Knights to a winning season in 2001, something the school had not done in 16 previous seasons.