Coming off a thrilling conference win over Hickory Friday night, the McDowell Titans knew that Saturday’s rescheduled non-conference game with Mitchell would be as much about fighting an internal battle as an opponent on the court.
It took a little while, but McDowell shook off any ill effects and extended its current win streak to four games with a 71-48 victory against the Mountaineers.
Approximately 18 hours beating previously undefeated Hickory in front of a large crowd in the NWC opener, the Titans returned to the hardwood on Saturday afternoon with much more subdued environment against a winless Mitchell (0-6) squad.
In the early stages, the Mountaineers stayed within a couple possessions of the Titans, including a 12-7 score after one quarter thanks in part to a good start from forwards Jordan Bailey (11 points, 4 rebounds) and Jessie Pittman (9 points).
But from there, McDowell started its ascent into a double-figure lead.
The Titans outscored Mitchell 20-12 in the second period.
Skyler McKinney’s transition bucket off a Dylan McRary steal gave the Titans their largest advantage of the first half at 27-11 with 2:29 left in the half.
Mitchell got back to within 13 points at the break and whittled the lead down to as low as eight points (35-27) at the 5:32 mark in the third when Bailey drained a 3-pointer.
But from there McDowell kicked it back into high gear with a 14-6 end to the third.
That essentially put the game on ice for McDowell as they ultimately increased the advantage over the 20-point plateau in the fourth quarter allowing the starters to get some much needed rest in the final minutes.
McDowell made eight 3s against the Mountaineers, held a 34-29 advantage on the boards and had just 11 turnovers. The only signs of fatigue may have come at the foul line, as the team made just 50 percent (5 of 10) from the stripe.
Skyler McKinney led all players with 13 points and six rebounds. Antoine Lindsey added 12 points, four assists, three steals and three assists giving the Titans a pair in double figures.
Kevin Silver (4 rebounds) added nine points. J.C. Olivo (2 steals) chipped in seven points and McRary (4 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals) netted six points.
The rest of the production came mostly from the McDowell bench especially late in the game.
Nick Grande had five points, all in the fourth quarter. Starter Travis Corpening along with reserve Adam Randolph had four points each. Ian Elliott (2 rebounds, 2 assists) had three points and Andruw Randolph, Caden Davis (3 rebounds), Trenton Gragg and Jordan Kehler (4 rebounds) had two points apiece.
McDowell returns to Northwestern 3A/4A play tonight at St Stephens.