Indiana signee Keyanna Warthen put on a steals clinic, and her backcourt running mate Melanie De Oleo followed suit in shooting three-pointers to lead Fort Lauderdale past Flanagan 65-39 at the BCAA Big 8 Girls Tournament semifinals on Friday.
De Oleo made eight three-pointers and Warthen scored 22 points and added seven rebounds. But it was her nine steals which set the tempo for a swarming Flying L’s team that overwhelmed the Falcons with its speed and athleticism at South Plantation High School.
“Keyanna fills that stats sheet up from assists, rebounds and a steals standpoint,” Flying L’s coach Lashonda Gaines said. “She has been on all year. Even on a bad shooting night she still gives us that. She carries that anchor a lot for us defensively, whether it’s a big or a guard. She will get down and do it all.”
Fort Lauderdale’s wire-to-wire victory vaulted it to the BCAA Big 8 championship game against South Broward at 7 p.m. Saturday. Tamiracle Taylor added 11 points for Fort Lauderdale.
It took overtime to decide the late semifinal between rivals South Broward and Nova. Shante Walker, who finished with a team-high 16 points, was the difference down the stretch. She completed a three-point play to put the Bulldogs up 44-41 with 3:02 left and then hit two free throws for a 54-51 lead with 1:19 remaining as the Bulldogs held off Nova 55-53. Alexis McCain added 13 points for the Bulldogs.
Gabrielle Gonzalez finished with a game-high 19 points for the Titans. Erin Gutierrez added 17 points for Nova.
As if Warthen wasn’t enough of a headache for the Falcons with her steals and coast-to-coast layups, it was De Oleo barely rippling the net with all 24 of her points from beyond the arc.
Together, Warthen and De Oleo squashed any hope for a Falcons comeback with a third-quarter spurt which saw De Oleo hit back-to-back three-pointers and Warthen convert her eighth steal for a layup and 46-27 lead with 1:42 left in the third quarter.
“When I get the steals it gives us an energy boost,” Warthen said. “Now we want to play defense harder and get it back on offense.”
Flanagan got a team-high 11 points Tharalee Mompelas but not the big night it needed from Jada Lubin to keep pace with the Flying L’s. Lubin, who had a team-high 19 points in a 48-38 overtime victory over Deerfield Beach in the quarterfinals, finished with eight points.
Warthen jump-started the Flying L’s with 13 first-half points, and a theft and layup barrage which gave the Flying L’s a 17-2 lead with three minutes left in the first quarter. Warthen then pushed the lead to 31-12 with 1:42 left in the second quarter with a three-pointer in front of the Falcons bench.
▪ Fort Lauderdale 65, Flanagan 39: FLAN (19-4): Lubin 8, Richards 2, Howard 9, Theodule 2, Mompelas 11, Sharpe 7. FTL (20-2): De Oleo 24, Taylor 11, Warthen 22, Jones 4, Boyce 4. HT: FTL 33-16. Three-pointers: Howard 1, Taylor 1, De Oleo 8, Warthen 1.
▪ South Broward 55, Nova 53: NOVA (18-5): Gonzalez 19, Gutierrez 17, Cowart 8, Massop 4, August 5. SB (21-3): Walker 16, Thomas 2, Leaks 11, Bell 2, McCain 13, Sadaka 11. HT: SB 20-16. Three-pointers: Gonzalez 2, Walker, Sadaka.