MORGANTON – The McDowell Lady Titans finished out their stay at the 45th Annual Freedom Christmas Invitational with an 87-62 win Friday morning against the Draughn Lady Wildcats in the consolation round.
The win gives McDowell (5-4) one victory in the three-day event and snaps a two-game skid as non-conference play is nearing its conclusion.
In this first-ever matchup between the two programs, the Lady Titans led wire-to-wire and had four players score in double figures.
Junior forward Makenna Parkins scored a game-high 22 points, with 11 of them coming in the first quarter. Parkins added six rebounds and five assists for McDowell.
Parkins got the Lady Titans on the scoreboard with a basket in the paint 18 seconds in off a Naliyah Boyce assist. She accounted for nearly half the points scored by McDowell as they jumped out to a 23-17 advantage after one quarter.
With the margin still at six points midway through the second, McDowell began to expand the margin by going on a quick 9-0 spurt.
Makaylah Chandler came off the bench and hit a 3-pointer from the right corner with 4:22 left in the half to give the Lady Titans a nine-point lead.
Eventually the margin blossomed to 15 points after baskets from Dezi Wiliams, Parkins and a Silese Carson rebound and score to go ahead 41-26 with 2:31 left in the half.
McDowell in the first half was able to force the Lady Wildcats into 16 turnovers, many of them translating into easy looks in transition.
After an even third quarter, the Lady Titans finished the game strong, with a 21-15 fourth-quarter advantage. In the first three-plus minutes of the fourth, McDowell had another 10-2 spurt thanks to baskets from Boyce, guard Zoe Miller and Chandler.
Carson had 17 points and four assists off the bench, along with 15 from Chandler (5 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals). Dezi Williams was the fourth McDowell player in double figures with 11 points.
Miller (2 steals, 2 assists) tallied eight points. Daisy Rice, along with Boyce, had five points each and Candace Cooper scored three points during the first quarter before leaving the exiting the game with an ankle injury.
Draughn guard Jenna Davis scored 19 points, Bailey Shuping had 15 points and Kira Suttles added 11 points to lead the Lady Wildcats.
With the holiday tournament now complete, McDowell will turn its attention to the beginning of Northwestern 3A/4A Conference action, starting Wednesday at Hickory High School (4 p.m. jayvee girls start).
The Lady Titans split a pair of league games against the Lady Tornadoes one year ago. McDowell was victorious on Hickory’s home court last January, 52-35.