Lady Titans complete season sweep of R-S Central

McDowell guard Dezi Williams drives to the basket during the Lady Titans' 68-51 win over R-S Central Wednesday. McDowell hosts Hickory tonight in the Northwestern 3A/4A Conference opener. Josh Davis/blessmysoulphotography.com

Josh Davis/blessmysoulphotography.com

The McDowell Lady Titans’ defense was superb Wednesday night, and that only served to make their offense look good, too.

The Lady Titans (3-2) smothered the R-S Central Hilltoppers with their full-court press and picked up a solid, 68-51 win at Titan Gym to complete the season sweep of the Hilltoppers (5-4).

McDowell forced 21 turnovers, with 16 of them coming on steals, and held Central to 34-percent field-goal shooting. The Lady Titans also had four starters in double figures and the fifth finished with nine points.

“I think a lot of our offense tonight came off our defense,” said Lady Titans head coach Jennifer Kinninger. “I felt like we played really well on defense. We were flying around, we were getting after it.

“I’m really proud of our effort.”

Senior post Lily McKinney led the way with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Point guard Candace Cooper (5 assists, 4 steals) chipped in 13. Makayla Brewer (9 rebounds, 4 steals) and Hayley Creasman added 12 points apiece. Dezi Williams (6 steals) tossed in nine.

McKinney, Brewer and Creasman were especially effective down low, and McDowell consistently got good looks in the post, whether off entry passes or offensive rebounds.

“It’s been a focus of our practices to work on post entry to get Lily, Makayla and Hayley the ball, and they worked really hard, and our guards saw that,” said Kinninger.

“We had four starters in double figures and Dezi had nine, and that’s big for us because we hadn’t had that. That will give us confidence.”

McDowell led 8-2 out of the gates and never lost the lead. The Lady Titans led 14-7 after one period and the advantage swelled to as many as 20 late in the second quarter.

But R-S Central answered with a 12-0 run that stretched from late in the first half to early in the third quarter. The rally got the Hilltoppers within 33-27 with 6:45 remaining in the third.

But the Lady Titans never wavered. McDowell went on an 11-0 run of its own. Cooper scored five of those points, and Brewer’s bucket off a McKinney assist stretched the lead to 44-27 at the 5-minute mark.

The lead never dipped into single digits again.

McDowell led 52-36 after three, and the lead hovered between the 16- and 20-point mark the rest of the way.

Despite an obvious size disadvantage, the Lady Titans rebounded the ball well. Central held a 40-39 edge overall, but McDowell pulled 14 offensive boards to R-S Central’s 12.

The Hilltoppers’ Aaliyah Whiteside led all scorers with 20 points on 8-of-17 shooting, but her teammates combined to shoot just 14-of-48 (29 percent). Post Haley White had a double-double for Central with 12 points and 11 rebounds.

McDowell opens Northwestern 3A/4A Conference play tonight (Friday) when Hickory visits Titan Gym. The jayvee girls tip off a four-game slate at 4 p.m.

 

 

R-S Central (51) Nikya Lynch 1-5 1-2 3, Jada Wilkins 2-7 0-0 4, Aaliyah Whiteside 8-17 2-2 20, Haley White 6-11 0-0 12, Maddi Gillie 1-12 0-0 3, Chloe Parton 0-4 0-0 0, Molly Martin 3-8 0-0 6, Kaitlyn Brock 1-1 0-0 3. Totals: 22-65 3-4 51.

McDowell (68) Hayley Creasman 5-14 1-1 12, Lily McKinney 8-14 0-0 16, Makayla Brewer 5-11 2-2 12, Dezi Williams 3-11 3-4 9, Candace Cooper 5-8 1-2 13, Taylor Buchanan 1-5 2-2 4, Zoe Miller 0-0 0-0 0, Silese Carson 1-5 0-0 2, Katelyn Smith 0-3 0-0 0, Emma Banks 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 28-71 9-11 68.

 

R-S Central                  07   15   14   15 – 51

McDowell                    14   19   19   16 – 68

 

Rebounds: RSC (40) McDowell (39) Rebound leaders: RSC (White 11) McDowell (McKinney 10, Brewer 9, Buchanan 7) 3-point goals: RSC (3-14) McDowell (3-14) RSC (Whiteside 1-4, Gillie 1-6, Parton 0-3, Brock 1-1) McDowell (Williams 0-5, Cooper 2-2, Creasman 1-5, Carson 0-2) McDowell assist leaders: (Cooper 5) McDowell steals leaders: (Williams 6, Cooper, Brewer 4) McDowell blocked shot leaders: (Williams, Creasman 1) Turnovers: RSC (21) McDowell (12)

 

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