Girls’ basketball | Class 7A semifinals:Nova 47, Haines City 44

Kiani Lurry’s fourth-quarter spurt lifts Nova to Class 7A girls’ basketball final

Nova has delivered clutch performances in close games throughout the playoffs.

On Friday, the Titans did it again and moved within one victory of what would be their first state girls’ basketball championship.

Kiani Lurry’s perfect free-throw shooting and 10 fourth-quarter points helped the Titans hold off Haines City for a 47-44 win in a Class 7A state semifinal at The Lakeland Center.

Nova (22-7) advances to play Gainesville Buchholz on Saturday at 5 p.m. in what will be its first state championship game appearance since 2009.

“They did an incredible job again of finding a way to win just like we did the past three games,” Nova coach Jason Hively said. “We told them we had to be all in and have no regrets.”

Lurry finished with 20 points and went 10 for 10 at the free-throw line, which helped Nova survive in a game in which it committed 23 turnovers. The Titans forced 19 turnovers, including a huge steal by Deja Roberts that helped Nova hike the lead to 45-40 on two free throws by Lurry.

“I just took a couple of deep breaths every time and wiped the sweat off my hands and just took the shots,” Lurry said.

Haines City wasn’t finished, though.

Haines City guard Ja’Deshia Johnson made a layup, stole the following inbounds pass and scored again to cut Nova’s lead to 45-44 with 26 seconds left. Lurry drew another foul driving to the basket with 14 seconds remaining.

Qushonda Florence’s desperation three-pointer from the top of the key bounced off the rim, and the rebound was tipped to Bernadette DeVaney as time expired.

DeVaney, who scored 20 points in each of Nova’s regional wins and hit the winning shot in a 56-53 win against Palm Beach Lakes this past Saturday in the Region 4-7A final, had 12 points and three steals.

DeVaney hit a pair of timely three-pointers, including one to start the third quarter that gave Nova its first lead after a first half in which it shot 5 for 18 (27.8 percent).

The Titans held Haines City to 6-for-26 shooting in the first half, however, and never relinquished the lead following DeVaney’s three-pointer.

“After struggling in the first quarter, we found a way to finally get it going offensively,” Hively said. “I just told them we have to keep it close, and we did a good job of that. We took control in the third quarter with the press, and that helped us loosen up and play much better.”

Nova went without a field goal after Lurry’s layup gave it a 40-35 lead with 2:59 remaining in the fourth. Haines City twice cut the lead to one by quickly scoring, and then stealing the ball and scoring again in transition.

Brekia Henderson made a three-pointer and then following a steal, converted a layup to cut the lead to 41-40. Nova then threw an errant pass in the backcourt, giving Haines City (28-5) the ball with 1:19 left.

But on the ensuing possession, Johnson was called for a three-second violation. Lurry drew a foul on the next possession and made both free throws.

HC (28-5): Henderson 14, Akins 6, Johnson 12, Brown 12. NOVA (22-7): Cowart 2, DeVaney 12, Roberts 4, Lurry 20, English-Lurry 7, Corazza 2. Half: HC 14-12. Fouled out: Reddick, Akins. Three-pointers: DeVaney 2, Henderson, Brown. Rebounds: Brown 13. Assists: English-Lurry 4. Steals: Johnson 6.

Read more Broward High Schools stories from the Miami Herald

  • Tennis | Boys’ and Girls’ State Championships

    Cypress Bay girls’ tennis team delayed; Coral Gables wins boys’ title

    How fortunes can change in the span of 20 minutes. That’s about how long it took for Cypress Bay to lose its grip on a second consecutive boys’ Class 4A tennis title Tuesday, the end coming swiftly on a bang-bang pair of doubles tiebreakers at the hands of new champion Coral Gables.

Pembroke Pines Charter's Victoria Hill looks for a shot against South Broward’s Sam Weichhan in the District 12 water polo finals on April 15, 2014.

    Broward High Schools Roundup

    Pembroke Pines Charter beats Cooper City, wins District 12 boys’ water polo championship

    Noah Hernandez snapped his arm like a snake striking its prey, scoring at the buzzer and piling on Cooper City in Pines Charter’s 13-9 win Tuesday in the District 12 boys’ water polo championship. The Jaguars swept both the boys and girls district finals under coach Luis Soler, with the girls team beating South Broward 9-3.

  • Tennis

    Cypress Bay returns to finals

    Cypress Bay coach Vince Grossi makes it a point to never look at the updated brackets once play begins at the state tennis championships.

Get your Miami Heat Fan Gear!

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category