Rival South Broward looms as an obstacle for Nova’s postseason run

02/18/2014 12:01 AM

02/18/2014 12:38 AM

It’s state title or bust for Nova’s eight seniors.

The surprising Titans, who booked their first ticket to the boys' basketball regional semifinals in 36 years, will lean heavily on their experience to continue their surprising postseason run.

“I would love for our seniors to go out with a state title,” Nova sixth- year coach Alin Andre said. “I think they deserve to get that opportunity to play in the regional finals. Tuesday night is the key.”

For Nova's seniors to keep their high school careers alive, the host Titans (17-6) will have to complete a difficult 4-0 season sweep of District 15-7A rival South Broward (10-14) on Tuesday.

Andre is banking on another big game from 6-1 guard Roshane Walker, the most prominent piece of that veteran corps, who leads the Titans in scoring (21.5 ppg).

Besides setting the tone offensively, Walker will play a key role in slowing down Bulldogs' guard Austin Oltime, who poured in a game-high 21 points to hold off Miami Central 52-49 in its quarterfinals.

Andre said Walker’s even-keeled demeanor and lead-by-example approach has made him the ideal go-to player in late game situations.

But before the Titans can even think about looking ahead to the prospect of facing Class 7A No. 2 Boyd Anderson (23-5) or two-time defending state champions Blanche Ely (21-4) in the regional finals, they will have to put away a Bulldogs team that, despite its sub-.500 record, has the potential to pull an upset.

“It’s difficult to beat any team in our district once, much less four times,” Andre said. “We will find out [Tuesday] night. South Broward is playing real good ball right now. It’s always a battle with them and comes down to the last two or three minutes of the game. I expect tomorrow night to be the same thing.”

After surviving with a 50-48 victory over American in the regional quarterfinals, the Titans can ill afford to look past any opponent, especially one as familiar with the Titans as the Bulldogs.

In that regional quarterfinals, Nova appeared to have the game well in hand, holding a 21-11 halftime lead only to have the Patriots mount a second-half rally before coming up short.

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