NEWTON - Youth is definitely being served for the McDowell Titans, and early on, the results have been very encouraging.
McDowell put together a workmanlike effort on the hardwood, leaving Fred T. Foard with an 88-73 victory Friday night to improve to 2-0 on the season.
Nine players scored for McDowell in the high-paced affair that included 13 3-pointers made by both squads. However, the focus early on was asserting a presence in the interior, and the Titans did a very efficient job in doing that. Sophomore post Trent Lewis got the ball early and often for McDowell on the block and scored eight of his team-high 21 points in the first quarter.
Lewis gently laid the ball off the backboard and through the hoop 45 seconds into the game. And from there McDowell went to work jumping out to a 22-9 lead after one quarter. He finished just shy of his second career double-double, gathering nine boards and two assists.
Lewis dealt with some foul trouble late in the first half and that slowed his offensive production some. But with the game still in doubt, Lewis came on strong late, scoring 11 more points in the fourth quarter resisting any comeback attempt that the Tigers had in mind.
A pair of seniors combined with Lewis to give McDowell three different players in double figures. Dylan McRary added 16 points, eight assists, six rebounds and a pair of steals. McRary had a pair of 3-pointers in the contest but early on he was very aggressive in penetrating the Foard defense and getting into the paint.
Adam Randolph was the third Titan in double figures with 12 points, nine rebounds, four assists and three steals.
With McDowell ahead by 13 after one quarter, the teams went back-and-forth the rest of the way. McDowell was ahead 39-23 at the half and expanded its margin to as high as 23 points midway through the third quarter. Dequan Boyce scored on a transition basket with about three minutes left in the third, giving McDowell a 57-34 advantage before the Tigers finished the third with a 16-8 run, trimming the Titans lead back to 15.
However that would be the closest Foard would get. The Titans opened the final stanza with back-to-back scores in the paint by Lewis in the first minute-plus, squashing the Tigers' run at the end of the previous quarter. Once the smoke settled, the final stanza ended up in a 23-23 stalemate that included the last four points of the game scored by Foard in the final minute.
Richard Handy had nine points and three rebounds off the bench in place of Lewis. Andruw Randolph (3 rebounds) finished with eight points. Qualique Garner had seven points and six rebounds.
Boyce (4 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals) and Trenton Gragg (6 rebounds) chipped in with six points each and J.C. Olivo (4 rebounds, 4 assists) scored five points.
Foard made a total of 10 3-pointers in a losing effort. A.J. Sollid and Dallas Pena finished with 13 points each and Daniel Lackey had 10 points.
McDowell returns home on Tuesday to battle the R-S Central Hilltoppers.