Nishi Tavernier couldn’t be stopped. Defenders couldn’t be stay in front of her and she seemingly couldn’t miss. The Bronx Science senior point guard completely dominated in the fourth quarter. She drove into the lane and scored at will.
“The fourth quarter we just put it on her shoulders,” Bronx Science coach Bob Gregory said. “We just opened it up and if she could go through, she did. … She just took it on her shoulders and went.”
Tavernier scored 16 of her game-high 27 points in a wild fourth quarter, pulling the Wolverines within two points of undefeated No. 2 Baruch College Campus on a drive to the left side with 29 seconds left in the fourth. Junior forward Taylor Murtaugh added 13 points.
“This game I knew I couldn’t just wait,” Tavernier said. “I brought it out from the first quarter. I knew I had to be aggressive this game to keep my team in the game.”
It appeared she would get a chance to tie the score or even win it when No. 6 Bronx Science (20-2), trailing by two, got the ball back with 16.6 seconds left in the game off a Baruch turnover. Senior Michelle Rybak broke the Blue Devils pressure up the right side. She looked for a covered Tavernier at the top of the key, but instead passed it to sophomore Christine Pavia in the right corner. She drove and put up a shot and Bronx Science would get the rebound, but the Wolverines turned it over.
Two Ismeta Kolenovic (20 points) free throws ended any change of a comeback. Baruch’s Diana Choibekova added 22 points to help her team hold on for a 56-22 win in a PSAL Class A girls’ basketball semifinal Monday at Lehman College in the Bronx.
“She is only a sophomore. I can remember my sophomore mistakes,” Tavernier said of Pavia. “You kind of get caught in the emotion. … It didn’t [just] come down to that last play.”
Bronx Science was down, 39-32, heading into the fourth before Tavernier got hot. She scored seven straight Wolverines’ points during one stretch to make it 45-41 Baruch (21-0) with 4:01 left, much to the delight of a raucous group of Bronx Science fans.
“She did whatever she wanted every time down,” Baruch coach Jessenia Marrero said.
A string of nine consecutive points cut the lead to 54-52 with 29 seconds left and a Baruch turnover set up the final key sequence. Tavernier was suppose to get the ball and a chance, but good defense forced the change of plan.
“They overplayed it,” Gregory said. “They knew it was going to her. As she ran up the court she should have got the ball back. You got to make adjustments.”