Grand opener: Lady Titans pull away from Cavaliers in overtime

McDowell's Dezi Williams dribbles past East Burke's Riley Haas during the Lady Titans' 67-56 overtime win in the season opener Tuesday night. Josh Davis/

Downtown Marion has seen an impressive spate of business start-ups in the last couple of years. There was another grand opening Tuesday night.

The McDowell Lady Titans rallied from a big, first-half deficit and pulled away from the East Burke Cavaliers in overtime en route to a 67-56 win in the 2018-19 debut.

East Burke started four of the five players as last year when they blew McDowell out twice, including a 58-35 shellacking in the opener at Titan Gym.

The Cavs appeared to be on track to a similar victory Tuesday when they opened up a 25-10 lead early in the second quarter. But the Lady Titans got within seven by halftime and three at the end of the third quarter. It was tied at 54-54 at the end of regulation.

McDowell never trailed in the extra period, scoring the game’s final 10 points.

“I am so proud of our girls and the way they played with toughness and heart,” said Lady Titans head coach Jennifer Kinninger. “They handled adversity and battled back and didn't give up. I love coaching these girls and how they play for each other and the team. East Burke is a great team and Coach (Crystal) Bartlett is an amazing coach, so to come away with a victory just makes me so happy for our players.”

Junior forward Makenna Parkins had a monster double-double in her varsity debut with 18 points and 15 rebounds. Senior guard Dezi Williams (6 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals) scored nine of her 17 in overtime, going 5-of-6 from the free throw line in the period.

But contributions came from everywhere on the court for McDowell, none bigger than that of senior guard Zoe Miller, who tied the game twice in the final 2:38 with clutch 3-pointers, her only six points of the night.

Riley Haas led East Burke with 18 points and Brooke Arney added 16, but Arney, along with post Graleigh Hildebran and guard Ariana Hawkins (9 points), fouled out in OT.

McDowell had a chance to win it at the buzzer.

Haas missed a short jumper in the final seconds of regulation, and Miller chased down the rebound and dove for the ball, calling timeout with four seconds left. Williams then drove to the basket and nearly made a contested layup that would have ended it.

Parkins made the front end of a one-and-one less than a minute into overtime to give McDowell a 55-54 lead, and the Lady Titans never trailed again. Parkins missed the second shot, but Williams came up with the rebound and was fouled. The senior buried both shots for a 57-54 advantage.

A basket by Arney briefly pulled East Burke within 57-56, but Williams answered with a driving layup for a 59-56 lead with 2:33 to play, and McDowell extended the lead from there.

“We had several people step up at different times in the game right when we needed it, and that helped us so much,” said Kinninger. “I am excited to see how this team continues to grow and develop as we go into the season.”

McDowell is on the road at Foard Friday. There is no jayvee girls game; the jayvee boys will tip off at 4:30.


East Burke (56) Ariana Hawkins 2-8 3-3 9, Allie Cooke 2-6 0-0 4, Brooke Arney 5-15 4-4 16, Riley Haas 6-15 5-6 18, Graleigh Hildebran 0-3 2-2 2, Maya Chrisco 2-5 3-4 7, Zoie Smith 0-0 0-0 0, Ashlyn Stillwell 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 17-52 17-19 56.

McDowell (67) Makenna Parkins 7-15 4-6 18, Naliyah Boyce 1-5 0-0 2, Zoe Miller 2-8 0-1 6, Alana Stephenson 2-6 2-5 8, Dezi Williams 4-11 9-12 17, Leila Bragg 1-2 0-0 3, Daisy Rice 1-2 0-0 2, Silese Carson 1-7 3-6 6, Megan Zullo 0-1 0-0 0, Makaylah Chandler 1-4 3-4 5. Totals: 20-61 21-34 67.


East Burke                   23   08   15   08   02 – 56

McDowell           10   14   19   11   13 – 67


Rebounds: EB (30) MHS (40) Rebound leaders: EB (Chrisco 8) McDowell (Parkins 15) 3-point goals: EB (5-20) McDowell (6-16) EB (Hawkins 2-4, Cooke, Hildebran, Chrisco 0-1, Arney 2-10, Haas 1-3) MHS (Williams 0-1, Stephenson 2-4, Miller 2-3, Parkins 0-2, Bragg 1-2, Carson 1-4) McDowell assist leaders: (Williams 4) McDowell steals leaders: (Williams, Miller, Chandler 3) McDowell blocked shot leaders: (Williams 1) Turnovers: EB (24) MHS (20) Fouled out: EB (Hildebran 3:12—OT, Hawkins 1:59—OT, Arney 1:08—OT)



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