First-place Pioneers stop Lady Titans

McDowell's Emma Banks boxes out Watauga's Rebekah Farthing during Friday's 48-32 loss. The Lady Titans host Alexander Central in the home finale Tuesday night.

Defensively, the Watauga Pioneers are not unlike the Virginia Cavaliers mens’ team, methodically constricting their opponents like a snake.

Not surprisingly, both clubs are at the tops of their respective conferences.

The Pioneers (8-0 Northwestern 3A/4A, 14-2 overall) stymied the McDowell Lady Titans’ offense Friday and rolled to a 48-32 victory at Titan Gym. McDowell (6-4, 12-8) managed six, seven and eight points in the first three quarters and shot an ice-cold 24 percent from the floor.

It didn’t help that the Lady Titans missed some shots they normally make. McDowell came up empty on its first 18 shots from 3-point range and ended up 1-for-20 from deep. McDowell’s only 3 of the game came from reserve guard Kendell Brooks with 1:44 left in the game. It trimmed the deficit to 46-28.

“The first half, we talked about the one thing we needed to do was execute, because they (Watauga) play such great defense and they’re so disciplined,” said McDowell head coach Jennifer Kinninger. “We didn’t execute the way we needed to, and we turned the ball over a lot in the first half. We didn’t make a lot of our shots, even easier ones that normally would fall.

“In the second half, we did more of those things, and we end up winning the half.”

Watauga opened up a 31-13 halftime lead, and the game was never competitive in the second half. Still, the Lady Titans outscored the Pioneers 19-17 after the break.

Madie Darner led Watauga with 13 points. Rebekah Farthing added 10 and pulled down nine rebounds. No one else broke into double figures for the Pioneers, but it hardly mattered.

The Lady Titans got a solid performance from post Makayla Brewer, who recorded a double-double with 12 points and 10 boards. No one else scored more than six.

The Pioneers led 14-6 after one quarter, and outscored McDowell 17-7 in the second. McDowell didn’t break out of single digits until a pair of free throws from Katelyn Smith (4 points, 4 rebounds) got them within 28-11 with 1:42 to play in the half.

McDowell didn’t string back-to-back buckets together until Brewer hit two in a row late in the third quarter.

“I’m proud that our girls kept playing and didn’t stop fighting,” said Kinninger. “Watauga is a good team and I don’t want to take anything away from them, but there are things that we can do better, especially going into this stretch.”

Despite the loss, McDowell remained in sole possession of third place in the league standings. More importantly, the Lady Titans are a game-and-a-half ahead of South Caldwell (4-5), the NWC’s only other 4A team. Only one State 4A Playoff berth is guaranteed to the conference, and McDowell currently has the inside track for it.

The Lady Titans host Alexander Central next Tuesday in the regular-season home finale before facing South Caldwell, West Caldwell and Freedom on the road to close out the regular season.


Watauga (48) Brooke Byrd 2-6 2-2 6, Rebekah Farthing 3-5 4-6 10, Maddisen Robinson 3-7 3-7 8, Paris Bolick 0-1 4-4 4, Madie Darner 5-10 2-2 13, Cailey Haas 0-9 1-2 1, Paige Bolick 0-1 2-2 2, Alyssa Lopez 1-2 0-0 2, Libby Warren 1-2 0-0 2. Totals: 15-43 18-25 48.

McDowell (32) Hayley Creasman 0-5 0-0 0, Lily McKinney 1-3 0-0 2, Makayla Brewer 6-11 0-3 12, Dezi Williams 0-10 1-2 1, Candace Cooper 0-2 0-0 0, Zoe Miller 0-1 0-0 0, Taylor Buchanan 3-6 0-0 6, Katelyn Smith 0-3 4-4 4, Emma Banks 1-2 0-0 2, Ariel Lineberger 0-3 0-0 0, Silese Carson 0-2 2-3 2, Kendell Brooks 1-2 0-0 3, Megan Zullo 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 12-50 7-12 32.


Watauga    14   17   08   09 – 48

McDowell  06   07   08   11 – 32


Rebounds: Watauga (34) McDowell (31) Rebound leaders: WHS (Farthing 9) McDowell (Brewer 10) 3-point goals: WHS (1-8) McDowell (1-20) WHS (Robinson 0-3, Darner 1-3, Haas, Warren 0-1) McDowell (Williams 0-8, Cooper 0-2, Creasman 0-3, Miller, Smith 0-1, Lineberger, Carson 0-2, Brooks 1-1) McDowell assist leaders: (Creasman 2) McDowell steals leaders: (Creasman 2) McDowell blocked shot leaders: (Williams, McKinney 1) Turnovers: WHS (16) McDowell (17)

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