Nova’s menacing mob of defenders appeared as a windmill of arms to oncoming dribblers in its 50-40 win over St. Thomas Aquinas on Tuesday in a Region 4-7A quarterfinal.
Squeaks from skin sliding on hardwood meant tenacious Titans defense for 32 minutes, which limited the visiting Raiders to just 16 second-half points.
“It was a very difficult loss for our girls,” said Bernie Farrell, who coached Aquinas to its first playoff appearance in nine years. “They are relentless. We had a four-point lead at halftime, and we knew they were going to make their runs. If you don’t meet their relentlessness, this happens. It’s intensity and it’s talent. They are a really good team that plays well together.”
The Titans’ turning point came with 4:03 remaining in the third quarter. After trailing 24-20 at half, Trellanie English-Lurry took over for the Titans. An English-Lurry layup put the Titans ahead 28-26 before the top Titan completed a personal 8-0 run with a three-pointer.
“I saw what my team was doing, and I felt like I needed to put them on my back and do what I had to do to get us through,” said English-Lurry, who had a game-high 17 points.
Mary Katherine Moore used her 6-5 frame to dominate in the first half for Aquinas. Moore led the Raiders with 13 points.
“We had to stick with our principles and fundamentals,” Titans coach Jason Hively said. “We knew it would be a tough battle trying to beat this team four times in a row for the season.
“... Defense was ultimately going to determine what we were going to be able to do [Tuesday night].”
The Titans face Palm Beach Lakes on Saturday in the Region 4-7A final.
WES: 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 4 – 4
WB: 1, 0, 0, 4, 1, 1, X – 7
WP: Michael Schappell (1-0). LP: Spano (0-1). Top performers: WB: Evan Stocker 2-3, HR, 3 RBI. Richie Garcia 1-2, RBI. Chase Hay-Eldon 1-3, run scored. WB (1-0).
WP: Futrell. LP: Walker. Top performers: PC-Chandler Cissel 1-2 RBI, Alex Perez 1-2.
WA 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 – 3
CM 2 2 1 0 0 0 X – 5
WP: McCabe (2-0) 7 innings, 10 K'S, 1 ER. LP: Strandberg (2-1). Top performers: WA: Brown 3-3, 1-2B, 2 RBI's. CM: Jackie Yao 2-2, 1BB, 1 HR, 2 runs, 4 SB, 2 RBI's. Kimberly Paulino 1-3, 1-2B, 2 RBI's. Megan Sorg 1-3, 1-2B, RBI.