CONNELLY SPRINGS – It was a case of role reversal Thursday night when the McDowell Lady Titans and East Burke Lady Cavaliers battled on the hardwood.
This time around, it was the Lady Cavs who rallied on their home court to slide past the Lady Titans 61-49 in non-conference action.
The evolution of Thursday’s matchup had many of the similarities to the first game the two foes played back on Nov. 27, a 67-56 overtime win by McDowell. The visiting team jumped out to an early lead, McDowell (3-2) didn’t allow an East Burke field goal for the first nine-plus minutes of play and in the process jumped out to a double-digit lead.
Maya Chrisco ended that drought with a 3-pointer with 6:54 left in the half to make it 12-5 and that was the catalyst for a Lady Cavalier rally, negating the good start by the Lady Titans.
East Burke finished the half with a 17-10 edge to get back within a possession (22-19) at halftime.
The Lady Titans were able to slow down the momentum at the break and pushed the lead back up to as much as 34-26 on a successful transition score by Makenna Parkins with 3:50 left in the third.
Unfortunately things took a quick turn for the worse.
After a timeout, the Lady Cavaliers put together their best run of the night, erasing their deficit and more. East Burke finished the quarter with a 13-2 surge. It all started with a drive and score by Arianna Hawkins (18 points) at the 2:58 mark.
Then after a McDowell miss on their end, Brooke Arney trimmed it to a 34-31 deficit with a transition 3-pointer with 2:07 left. Arney then nailed another long-range shot just prior to the buzzer sounding, giving East Burke its first lead at 39-36.
The rally turned out to be a huge momentum swing that East was able to ride down the stretch. The fourth started with another 3 by Hawkins off a Josie Hise penetration and kick out to the right corner.
McDowell sophomore Naliyah Boyce (11 points, 11 rebounds, one steal) ended the flurry with scores on back-to-back possessions to get within a 42-40 score with 6:58 left but that was answered with another quick 7-0 surge by the Lady Cavs on baskets by Hawkins, Chrisco and Hise and a free throw by Arney with 3:30 left to make it 49-40.
The Lady Titans in the final minute were able to get back within six on a Makaylah Chandler (5 points, 4 rebounds, 2 steals) steal and basket but couldn’t get any closer as Hise was fouled with 41 seconds left and made both free throws to seal the victory.
Dezi Williams (10 rebounds) and Zoe Miller (2 assists) finished with 10 points each. Parkins (8 rebounds, 2 steals) had seven points. Candace Cooper and Alana Stephenson finished with three points each.
The Lady Titans, who have dropped two in a row after winning their first three, visit R-S Central next Tuesday. The jayvee boys’ game tips off the action at 5 p.m. with varsity girls and boys to follow. Central does not field a jayvee girls’ team.