HICKORY – Playing on the road in the Northwestern 3A/4A is a stern test at every venue. The McDowell Titans passed their first conference road exam with a 70-54 win at Saint Stephens Tuesday night.
Coming off a huge win in last week’s conference opener against Hickory, the Titans (2-0 NWC, 7-1 overall) put together a 19-9 first-quarter performance and kept Saint at arm’s length through the first half. Then, an even more impressive 17-2 run at the start of the third quarter gave McDowell its largest advantage of the night at 28 points, and quickly pushed a somewhat competitive game out of hand.
“Any time you can go on the road and win it’s a big thing. In this league, a team like ours is going to get everyone’s best shot on a nightly basis,” said McDowell head coach Brian Franklin. “I thought we did a good job at coming out strong at the start of each half. That is something that we have been stressing. Saint Stephens is a good team and we knew it was going to be a battle on their home court. The one thing that was a bit disappointing was not finishing the game. We allowed Saint to get back to within nine or 10 points there in the fourth.
“It didn’t have an impact in tonight’s outcome but in this league you can’t do that; it will cost you a win at some point. So hopefully the kids will learn from that and improve.”
The Titans were in front 35-20 at the half, and the decisive third-quarter run was started by a 3-pointer from Kevin Silver at the 6:51 mark off an Antoine Lindsey drive and kick-out.
Lindsey then scored on a transition layup at the 6:22 mark. Silver scored a second time three seconds later off an in-bounds steal. Then, at the 5:33 mark, Lindsey drained an additional 3-pointer. Travis Corpening added a score in the paint and then Silver’s conventional three-point play off a Corpening assist at the 3:44 mark in the third suddenly pushed the McDowell lead to 50-22.
Four McDowell players scored in double figures, starting with Lindsey (3 assists), who poured in a career-high 26 points, making a half-dozen 3-pointers.
Silver (6 rebounds, 3 assists) and Skyler McKinney (14 rebounds, 2 blocks, 2 assists) had 12 points each and Dylan McRary added 11 points off the bench.
Corpening finished with seven points and Cole England had two points.
McDowell will step outside of league play and host Fred T. Foard on Friday (3 p.m. jayvee boys start).