Dec. 12, 2012. The Watauga Pioneers men’s basketball team fell to the McDowell Titans for the second time this season Tuesday night, 68-63.
Watauga’s zone defense forced McDowell into numerous turnovers and miscues in the early-going, giving the Pioneers a 9-0 advantage six minutes in.
“We knew it would be a matter of time, with the shooters that they have, we weren’t going to be able to stay in that zone and they were going to shoot themselves back into the game,” Watauga Head Coach Rob Sanders said.
But the Titan bench provided a much needed wake-up call to the squad. RaeKwon Miller came off the McDowell bench to drain a pair of threes. In just under three minutes, McDowell cut the deficit to two, 14-12.
The Titan bench continued to provide a spark in the second quarter. Dylan Ricketts notched five points and Dylan Corpening tallied four of his own as the Titans turned a two point deficit into a four point lead, despite a pair of three balls from Cam Baker of the Pioneers.
The Pioneers just couldn’t keep their opponents off the offensive glass as their deficit expanded throughout the third quarter. Four Titan players finished with five rebounds or more, compared to just two for the Pioneers.
McDowell kept a steady lead throughout the fourth until Watauga mounted one last rally in the waning minutes. A late three from Ben Margolis cut the Pioneer’s deficit to one. Forced to foul, Watauga saw their deficit grow back to three, but a 5-second in bounds violation with 20 seconds left gave the squad one more shot at victory.
Margolis’ final attempt rattled off the rim and the Pioneers were denied a shot at redemption after falling to McDowell one week ago.
Cam Baker led the Pioneers with 13 points and four rebounds. Allen Kopenhaver and Tyler Sturgill chipped in eight a piece. Dylan Ricketts led McDowell with 20 points, including four three-pointers. Josh Pyatt added 14.
Watauga will open up conference play next Tuesday at Foard High School, looking to improve their mark of 4-2 on the season.