McDowell garners all-star nods

McDowell Titans head coach Brian Franklin talks to the team during a game last season. Franklin will be the assistant coach for the North Carolina boys' team in the Annual Carolinas Classic All-Star Game next Saturday in Wilmington. Josh Davis/

A trio of McDowell High senior basketball players will represent the blue and silver at the Annual Blue-White All-Star Games, while the Titans’ head coach is headed to Wilmington for the Carolinas Classic.

Lady Titans Dezi Williams and Makaylah Chandler and the Titans’ Dylan McRary will play for the Blue teams at the yearly games, which showcase some of the best senior players in the mountains. The Blue-White Games are set for Saturday, March 23 at Cherokee High School.

Titans head coach Brian Franklin will be busy that night as well when he helps coach the North Carolina team at the Carolinas Classic at Wilmington Hoggard High.

Williams wrapped up a stellar senior campaign by being named the Northwestern 3A/4A Conference Player of the Year after helping lead the Lady Titans to a 17-10 record. A three-time all-conference performer, Williams averaged 12.1 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.6 steals and 1.6 assists. She shot 43 percent from the field and 80 percent from the line and was the team’s top perimeter defender. She finished her four-year varsity career at McDowell with 1,070 points.

Chandler, a hard-charging forward, was also named all-conference. She averaged 7 points, 4.5 boards and a team-high 2.2 assists while making off with 21 steals.

McRary, a 5-foot-11 senior All-NWC guard, led the Titans in several statistical categories and was the club’s most consistent scorer all season. McRary averaged team-highs of 18.2 points, 3.1 assists and 2.2 steals to go along with 4.3 rebounds per game. He shot a team-high 33 percent from 3-point range, going 49-of-151.

The annual Blue-White Game is sponsored by the Rhododendron Civitan Club, with proceeds going to help special needs students at participating schools. The girls’ game tips at 6 p.m. in Cherokee with the boys to follow. This is the 67th year for the boys’ game and the 43rd for the girls’ contest.

The Blue girls will be coached by A.C. Reynolds’ Amanda Whitaker, while Brevard’s Chad Owenby will coach the White team.

Joining Williams and Chandler on the Blue roster will be Hannah Chandler (Madison), Makensie Chandler (North Buncombe), Chesney Gardner (Owen), Jada Logan (R-S Central), Osha Makerson (East Rutherford), Hannah McIntosh (Avery), Heaven Nelson (Avery), Presley Peterson (Mountain Heritage), Beth Shelton (Madison) and Aryeon Warren-Shivers (A.C. Reynolds).

The White girls team is made up of Peyton Cathey (Enka), Aubrey Clapsaddle (Murphy), Shelby Glance (Tuscola), Cierra Jackson (Tuscola), Eliza MaCaulay (Smoky Mountain), Sophie Manning (Asheville), Kaitlyn Messer (Erwin), Amber Redmon (Asheville), Emma Sorrells (Pisgah), Shea Sutton (Smoky Mountain), Tori Teesateskie (Cherokee) and Jaia Wilson (Erwin).

The Blue boys are coached by Hank Newsome of Mountain Heritage, while the White is coached by Pisgah’s Casey Kruk.

McRary’s teammates on the Blue squad includeBrandon Aumiller (Mountain Heritage), Elijah Carson (R-S Central), Jalen Crowder (A.C. Reynolds), Jacob Knox (R-S Central), Quay Logan (East Rutherford), Noah Moore (Owen), Jack Ritchie (North Buncombe), Luke Taylor (North Henderson) and Christian Walker (East Rutherford).

The White team includesDevin Bassett (Enka), Jay Bueck (Franklin), Rashad Chaffin (Erwin), Landon Henley (Tuscola), Cole Lamb (Smoky Mountain), Josiah Lossiah (Cherokee), Marvin Pearson (Asheville), Kyle Porter (West Henderson), Jake Smith (Enka), Kameron Walker (Pisgah) and Tanner Wike (Pisgah).

Franklin will be the assistant coach for the North Carolina team against the South Carolina squad in the annual Classic presented by the N.C. and S.C. Coaches Associations. Franklin is the third McDowell coach to participate in the game. Former Lady Titans mentor Mike Silver coached in 2000 and former Titans head coach Lloyd Church guided the boys N.C. team in 2010.

Franklin just completed his eighth season at the helm of the Titans and was the head coach for the Lady Titans for four years before taking over the boys’ coaching job when Church retired. Franklin’s teams have won nine conference regular-season and eight tournament championships and he is 232-93 for a winning percentage of .714. He has been named conference Coach of the Year five times, and is almost certainly the only individual to ever win Northwestern Conference Player of the Year (twice) and Coach of the Year for both boys’ and girls’ basketball.



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