The St. Stephens Indians pretty much controlled the first 31:48 of their game against the McDowell Titans Tuesday.
But the Titans made awfully good use of those 12 leftover seconds.
McDowell (7-2 Northwestern 3A/4A, 15-4 overall) got a clutch steal from Antoine Lindsey, which led to a game-winning 3-pointer from Kevin Silver with 12 seconds left, and held off the Indians 61-60 at Titan Gym.
The win snapped McDowell’s first two-game skid since January, 2016. It also kept their slim conference championship hopes alive. The Titans and Freedom trail Hickory – which hammered Freedom 82-56 Tuesday – by a game in the standings with five to play.
“The game was a carryover from the last week-and-a-half for us,” said Titans head coach Brian Franklin. “I thought especially in the first half, our intensity wasn’t where it needed to be. I was especially disappointed in the fact at times it looked like we weren’t playing as a team. It looked like a lot of individual stuff; a lot of dribbling and a lot of one-on-one.
“The bright spot is the guys never quit. They kept playing, and our intensity was much better in the second half.”
The Titans trailed by as many as 12 in the first half and were down 31-29 at halftime and 45-42 after three.
Things certainly didn’t look any better late in the game.
St. Stephens (1-7, 7-10) took a 56-51 lead with 2:26 to play, half-a-minute after McDowell standout Skyler McKinney had fouled out with just two points.
Dylan McRary made a big shot from the perimeter to pull the Titans within 56-54, but McDowell still trailed 60-56 when the Indians’ Teavius Henry made both ends of a one-and-one with 1:13 to go.
The score stayed that way until Travis Corpening took an entry pass from Lindsey and scored in the paint to cut the deficit to 60-58 with 29 seconds to go.
On the ensuing inbounds play, Lindsey snuck in and swiped the pass. Seconds later, he found Silver on the right wing, and the senior swished a 3-pointer that put the Titans ahead 61-60.
But McDowell still had bullets to dodge.
The Indians got down court quickly, and Luther Scott got a decent look at the basket in transition. But his shot rolled off the rim, and Lindsey grabbed the rebound and was fouled with 5.4 seconds to go.
The senior missed the front-end of his one-and-one, giving St. Stephens yet another chance. This time, Scott managed to squeeze off a runner in the lane, and the shot fell away as time expired.
Corpening (6 rebounds) led all scorers with 20 points, going 9-of-11 from the floor. Lindsey (8 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals) tossed in 14, and Silver (5 assists, 3 rebounds, 2 steals) added 13, all but two of them coming in the second half.
McKinney (9 rebounds, 3 assists) got in early foul trouble and then picked up a rare technical foul with 6:06 to play, which hastened his exit.
Lindsey, Silver and backup point guard J.C. Olivo combined for five steals in the fourth quarter. McDowell turned the Indians over eight times in the period after forcing just three turnovers through the first three quarters.
“I thought J.C. came in and played really hard and did some good stuff,” said Franklin. “Obviously, Kevin made a huge shot there at the end. Antoine did a lot of good things defensively, running around and making plays. Dylan made a big shot to get it back to two.”
“We were down five with two-and-a-half minutes left, we had all our timeouts, and we knew we still had a great chance to win. We didn’t panic.”
Drew Cline led St. Stephens with 17 points off the bench, making all three of his 3-point attempts. Scott added 13. Henry scored 12 and pulled 15 rebounds.
McDowell hosts Watauga Friday.
St. Stephens (60) Hunter Pyatte 1-7 2-2 5, Luther Scott 4-10 3-4 13, Ha’Mouri Joyner-McCorkle 1-6 4-4 7, Teavius Henry 4-12 4-4 12, Justin Bullock 3-5 0-2 6, Drew Cline 6-8 2-2 17, Carter Powell 0-1 0-1 0, Bryce DeSantis 0-1 0-1 0, Ezequiel Figueroa Del Valle 0-2 0-0 0. Totals: 19-52 15-20 60.
McDowell (61) Skyler Mckinney 1-8 0-1 2, Caden Davis 2-3 0-0 4, Travis Corpening 9-11 2-4 20, Antoine Lindsey 3-10 6-9 14, Kevin Silver 3-7 5-5 13, Dylan McRary 2-4 0-0 6, J.C. Olivo 0-5 0-2 0, Adam Randolph 1-2 0-0 2. Totals: 21-50 13-21 61.
St. Stephens 22 09 14 15 – 60
McDowell 13 16 13 19 – 61
Rebounds: SS (27) McDowell (31) Rebound leaders: SS (Henry 15) McDowell (McKinney 9, Lindsey 8) 3-point goals: SS (7-19) McDowell (6-19) SS (Pyatte 1-7, Scott 2-3, Joyner-McCorkle 1-2, Henry, Bullock, Powell, DeSantis 0-1, Cline 3-3) McDowell assist leaders: (Silver 5) McDowell steals leaders: (Silver, Lindsey, Olivo 2) McDowell blocked shot leaders: (McKinney 1) Turnovers: SS (11) McDowell (11) Fouled out: McDowell (McKinney 3:03—fourth) Technical foul: McDowell (McKinney)