HICKORY – McDowell High School’s two junior varsity basketball teams started the new year and Northwestern 3A/4A Conference play with a pair of hard-fought victories at David Craft Gymnasium on the campus of Hickory High School.
In junior varsity girls’ action, the Lady Titans had just enough firepower down the stretch to outlast the Hickory Lady Red Tornadoes 38-34.
Down two points going into the fourth quarter the Lady Titans mounted a 14-8 run over the final seven minutes to overcome a deficit through most of the game.
Madi Smith (9 points, 6 rebounds) hit a pair of decisive free throws in the final 17 seconds of play to put McDowell (5-0 overall, 1-0 NW 3A/4A) over the top. Payton Koone (3 assists) finished with seven points and Makiya Burgess (4 rebounds) along with Katie Baker (5 rebounds, 3 assists) tallied six points each in the victory.
Clementine Miller (4 points), Syndey Strode (3 points, 4 rebounds) and Cassie Banks (2 points) also scored in the game for McDowell.
McDowell 53, Hickory 40 (jayvee boys)
The McDowell Titans junior varsity basketball team also opened league play with a 53-40 road win against the Hickory Red Tornadoes.
A pair of McDowell (7-0, 1-0) players scored in double figures. Mason McPeters had 15 points and eight rebounds in the game along with 12 points from Zavion Bianchini.
The Titans methodically increased their margin throughout the entire 28 minutes of game time, going ahead by an 18-14 margin after one quarter. McDowell then enjoyed a seven-point advantage at the half and led by nine points after three quarters.
The lead reached its maximum in the final two minutes of play, getting up as high as 16 before settling down to the final margin of 13 points.
Michael Queen had a solid performance in his first conference tilt posting nine points and four assists. Riley Moore had six points off the bench. Colby Effler, Gavin Davis (7 rebounds) and Peyton Rose (8 rebounds) finished up with three points apiece and Jandon Robbins scored two points.
McDowell will return to Titan Gym to play St. Stephens on Friday (4:30 p.m. jayvee boys). Saint did not field a junior varsity girls’ team this season. Friday’s game will be the Titans’ first game at Titan Gym in over a month. The last home date was Dec. 4 against R-S Central.