McDowell Lady Titans sophomore Dezi Williams takes the ball to the basket during the Lady Titans' 61-55 loss to Erwin in the Mountain Athletic 4A/3A Conference tournament semifinals Wednesday. Williams had 26 points, seven assists, six rebounds and five steals in the loss.

Josh Davis/blessmysoulphotography.com

ASHEVILLE – The McDowell Lady Titans almost upset the top-seeded Erwin Warriors in the semifinals of the Mountain Athletic 4A/3A Conference tournament Wednesday night.

But they didn’t, and now, the waiting begins.

McDowell (12-14) needed to win the tourney in order to snag an automatic State 4A Playoff berth. As it is, the Lady Titans will have to wait until this weekend and see if their overall record gets them into the postseason for a 33rd consecutive year.

The fourth-seeded Lady Titans, who had won four in a row coming into Wednesday’s semifinal, rallied from nine down with 3:32 to play and held a one-point lead on the Warriors (18-5) with less than a minute left.

But Erwin got a couple of clutch baskets down the stretch to recapture the lead, and then made enough free throws to keep McDowell at bay.

Freshman Silese Carson (9 points) made a pair of 3-pointers and sophomore Zoe Miller added another during the furious rally that turned a 47-38 deficit into a 51-50 lead.

Lily McKinney (5 points, 5 rebounds) hit a jumper off an assist from Miller to push McDowell in front 51-50 with 43 seconds to go.

But Erwin’s Amber Redmond – who scored a team-high 25 points and went 13-of-18 from the line – hit a pair of charity shots with 36 seconds remaining to give her team the lead for good.

On the ensuing possession, McDowell’s Dezi Williams – who played a brilliant game with 26 points, seven assists, six rebounds and five steals – stepped on the half-court line, turning the ball over.

Redmond worked herself free on the inbounds and drove in for a breakaway layup, drawing a foul in the process. Her three-point play made it 55-51 with 26 seconds to go, and McDowell couldn’t recover.

Kaitlyn Messer added 13 for the Warriors and Treasure Bailey tossed in 11.

McDowell controlled the action early on. The Lady Titans led 9-8 after one quarter and scored the first six points of the second period to take a 15-8 lead on a Williams bucket with 6:50 remaining in the half.

But Erwin gradually fought its way back into the game and held a slim, 22-21 advantage at the break.

McDowell (55) Vyctoria Hall 2-7 0-0 4, Hayley Creasman 1-5 0-0 2, Lily McKinney 2-3 1-1 5, Dezi Williams 7-21 9-11 26, Zoe Miller 1-5 0-2 3, Amanda Bingham 0-1 0-0 0, Candace Cooper 0-2 0-0 0, Taylor Buchanan 2-3 0-0 4, Makayla Brewer 0-2 2-2 2, Silese Carson 3-5 0-0 9. Totals: 18-54 12-16 55.

Erwin (61) Zenobia Lytle 1-4 2-2 4, Treasure Bailey 5-7 1-2 11, Kaitlyn Messer 4-6 5-8 13, Amber Redmond 6-12 13-18 25, Sha’Jaia Grant 1-3 1-2 3, Omarri Stover 0-2 0-0 0, Hali Hawkins 0-0 2-2 2, Caitlin Taylor 0-2 0-0 0, Ashlyn Wolfe 1-3 0-2 3. Totals: 18-39 24-36 61.

 

McDowell          09   12   08   26 – 55

Erwin                 08   14   14   25 – 61

 

Rebounds: McDowell (26) Erwin (32) Rebound leaders: McDowell (Williams, Hall 6) Erwin (Bailey 8) 3-point goals: McDowell (7-23) Erwin (1-7) McDowell (Williams 3-10, Creasman 0-3, Cooper 0-1, Miller 1-5, Carson 3-4) Erwin (Lytle 0-2, Messer, Redmond, Taylor 0-1, Wolfe 1-2) McDowell assist leaders: (Williams 7) McDowell steals leaders: (Williams 5) Turnovers: McDowell (18) Erwin (22)