The McDowell Titans gift-wrapped one for the East Burke Cavaliers, but the Cavs never figured out how to open the present.
The Titans (1-1) picked up their first win of the year Wednesday, a 69-68 squeaker at Titan Gym that came down to the final seconds. East Burke (1-2) blew a chance to tie the game from the line with 6.1 seconds left, and then failed to convert after making a steal on the ensuing inbounds play.
Although the Titans didn’t execute down the stretch like head coach Brian Franklin wanted, the coach was happy with the effort and the workmanlike win.
“Any win right now is a good win for a team that’s growing and trying to figure themselves out,” said Franklin. “The thing that I liked was the kids went down seven early on, but they kept playing hard and were doing everything we asked. Overall, I’m really thrilled that our kids won. They’ve been working really hard in practice.
“As a young team, it’s good when you can still win the game and there are a lot of things we can look at from that game and say, in the future, this is what we can’t do if we want to win. In the last minute and a half, it almost looked like we were doing anything we could to give the game away.”
The last half-minute was bedlam.
The Titans led 69-66 when East Burke’s Luke Coble stepped to the line after an ill-advised McDowell foul with 28 seconds to play. Coble missed both his shots, but the ball went out of bounds off the Titans.
The Cavs’ Micah Chrisco got a good look at a 3 on the ensuing inbounds play, but McDowell forward Trent Lewis swatted the shot into the stands with 13 seconds remaining.
East’s Trey Ward then misfired on a 3-pointer, but Chrisco worked his way inside to grab the rebound, and then was fouled on a 3-pointer with 6.1 seconds to play. After a timeout, Crisco missed the first foul shot but made the next two, pulling his team to within 69-68.
But the Cavs still had life. Christian Smith stole the inbounds pass at half-court and fired the ball to Coble near the basket. Coble’s potential game winner bounced off the rim, and the Titans’ Johnathan Ramirez snagged the rebound with .04 on the clock, ending the threat.
The Titans, who were playing without starter Zavion Bianchini, got a balanced offensive effort in the win.
Mason McPeters (3 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal) led all scorers with 16 points. Ramirez, starting in place of Bianchini, finished with 14 points, eight boards, two steals and two assists.
Lewis (3 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 1 block) added 10 points. Jandon Robbins (2 assists, 2 steals, 2-4 3-ptrs.) tossed in nine points. Richard Handy (6 rebounds) chipped in eight and point guard Mikey Queen (8 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal) scored seven.
“I thought Johnathan Ramirez was fantastic,” said Franklin. “I thought Handy came in and played huge for us and did the kinds of things we need him to do. He was physical and strong rebounding the ball. Trent did some of the things he always does. Mason was great in the open court, getting out and running. Jandon came in and gave us a big lift, making some perimeter shots.”
Early on, East Burke was making all the perimeter shots. The Cavs led 21-18 after one quarter and were up as many as seven on several occasions in the second period. But the Titans fought back and got within 35-32 at the break.
McDowell took the lead for good on Jalen Robbins’ bucket with 20 seconds left in the third and owned a 50-46 advantage after three.
The Titans stretched their lead to as many as eight points before the Cavs started cutting into the lead late in the game.
Cam Propst led East Burke with 14 points. Smith added 10. Coble and Aasin Lor tossed in nine each.
McDowell is on the road at Mitchell next Tuesday.
East Burke (68) Luke Coble 3-10 2-4 9, Micah Chrisco 0-2 5-7 5, Logan Shuford 3-7 0-0 8, Aasin Lor 3-7 2-2 9, Cam Propst 6-11 2-3 14, Christian Smith 4-10 0-0 10, Van Kansleiter 2-4 0-0 5, Trey Ward 4-8 0-2 8, Perry Kiser 0-2 0-0 0. Totals: 25-61 11-18 68.
McDowell (69) Mason McPeters 5-8 6-8 16, Johnathan Ramirez 5-9 4-5 14, Trent Lewis 3-10 3-5 10, Colby Effler 0-1 0-0 0, Mikey Queen 2-6 3-5 7, Richard Handy 3-6 2-4 8, Jalen Robbins 1-4 0-0 2, Jandon Robbins 3-5 1-2 9, Gavin Davis 0-1 0-0 0, Seth Harrison 1-2 1-2 3. Totals: 23-52 20-31 69.
East Burke 21 14 11 22 — 68
McDowell 18 14 18 19 — 69
Rebounds: EB (32) MHS (31) Rebound leaders: EB (Lor 8) MHS (Queen, Ramirez 8) 3-point goals: EB (7-33) MHS (3-14) EB (Coble 1-5, Chrisco, Kiser 0-2, Shuford 2-6, Lor, Kansleiter 1-3, Propst, Ward 0-3, Smith 2-6) MHS (Queen, Jal. Robbins 0-2, Effler, McPeters, Handy, Davis 0-1, Lewis 1-2, Jan. Robbins 2-4) MHS assist leaders: (Effler 5) MHS steals leaders: (Lewis, Jan. Robbins, Ramirez 2) MHS blocked shot leaders: (Lewis 1) Turnovers: EB (12) MHS (10) Fouled out: MHS (Harrison, 2:15—third)