The Transylvania Times -

By Jeremiah Reed
Sports Editor 

Berry's Big Night Leads Lady Blue Devils Past Wolverines


November 30, 2017

Jeremiah Reed

Tristen Berry came alive for the Lady Blue Devils Monday night, scoring a flurry of points in the second quarter to dig Brevard out of an eight-point hole as she finished with 20 points on the night.

Trailing by eight points midway through the second quarter, the Brevard Lady Blue Devils' offense needed a spark against the Polk County Wolverines.

They got just that from sophomore Tristen Berry, who went on a tear to close out the first half and help Brevard beat the Wolverines 51-43 for their best start to a season in more than a decade.

Berry put the team on her back, turning an eight-point deficit into a two-point lead in a matter of minutes.

The game was tight down the stretch with several Brevard players coming up with big shots down the stretch, but Berry's second-quarter explosion gave the team life when they were on the ropes.

Berry has been a solid offensive player for Brevard since her freshman year, but Monday's avalanche of points was one of her best performances.

Brevard head coach Chad Owenby said it was a huge night for Berry, not just in the second quarter, but converting key situations late in the game that allowed the Lady Blue Devils to close out the win.

"Tristen can shoot from anywhere. She's got good range and I've tried to encourage her to take more shots. She really put us on her back in the second quarter and then, in the second half, she didn't score as many baskets, but she was 10-of-12 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter and that helped us maintain our lead in the closing minutes," he said.

Polk took a quick 4-0 lead just a minute into the action before Berry finally got Brevard on the board with 5:15 to play in the first quarter.

The opening eight minutes didn't feature much action from either side, but the Lady Blue Devils put together a late push in the final 60 seconds.

Michelle Lopez knocked down a jumper from the baseline to cut Polk's lead to two before Brooklyn Rising converted a layup and free throw opportunity off a steal to put Brevard in front 8-7 going into the second quarter.

The Wolverines took back the lead on their first possession of the quarter off a two-point jumper and increased their advantage to 12-8 following a three-pointer moments later.

Polk kept the rally going, tacking on four more points for a 16-8 lead.

The Lady Blue Devils had plenty of opportunities in the quarter, but couldn't get the shots to fall.

Berry snapped the Wolverines' run with a pair of free throws and drained a jumper from the corner to cut the lead to 17-13 with just over three minutes to go in the half.

The sophomore followed up with a trey from well beyond the arc to cut the lead to one and then buried another shot from downtown to rattle off 10 straight points and give Brevard a 19-17 advantage.

Lopez followed up with drive to the basket and finish. She tacked on a free throw after the foul to stretch the lead to 22-17.

Polk answered back with a three-pointer on their end and added a pair of free throws to tie the score at 22 going into the half.

The Lady Blue Devils came out of the locker room and moved in front 27-24 midway through the third quarter.

Berry added a pair of free throws to increase the lead to 29-24, but the Wolverines came back to cut the lead to one, 29-28, with under 1:30 to go in the quarter.

Polk fought back to the knot things up at 30 before Rising knocked down a shot from the corner to put Brevard back in front.

Once again, however, the Wolverines tied things up at 32 as the game entered the final quarter.

Lopez gave Brevard a quick lead off a basket and the Lady Blue Devils maintained a slight advantage, leading 40-38 with 5:30 left to play.

Rising knocked down another baseline jumper to put Brevard up by four and Hannah Cabe added two easy points off a nice assist from Emma Berry that stretched the lead to six.

Tristen Berry added two free throws to give Brevard an eight-point lead with under three minutes left.

The Lady Blue Devils held their composure down the stretch, protecting the ball and knocking down free throws to stay in front and earn the win.

Berry finished with a team-high 20 points on the night while Rising and Cabe racked up 10 points a piece.

Rising completed a double-double by reeling in 10 rebounds, including eight on the offensive glass.

Jeremiah Reed

Brooklyn Rising had 10 rebounds and 10 points for Brevard, including a layup and free throw conversion in the first half.

Cabe added seven boards and had five steals.

The win gives the Lady Blue Devils a 3-1 record.

Owenby said the key for Brevard moving forward is continuing to be efficient at the free throw line, as well as not being as passive offensively and taking more shots.

"The free throw line is crucial for us. Our younger kids are starting to get the feel of the game a little better and they've catching on to the pace of the varsity game. We're also turning down too many good shots. I've got girls that can shoot, really more than I've ever had on a team before. But we need to be taking more shots, plain and simple," he said.

Brevard traveled to face T.C. Roberson on Wednesday and squares off on the road against Blue Ridge on Thursday.


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