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‘Whole town was proud’

Supporters gather to rally team

POSTED: March 13, 2013 4:00 a.m.
David Renner Dawson Community News/

Robinson Elementary students show their support for the Lady Tigers on Friday. The team finished as state runners-up Saturday after falling to St. Pius X of Atlanta in the final 77-55.

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Dawson County turned out in droves to support the Lady Tigers in the team's road through the state basketball playoffs.

And while the title eluded them, they will always be winners in the eyes of the community.

The Lady Tigers finished as state runners-up after falling to St. Pius X of Atlanta in Saturday's final 77-55.

"It's awesome to see the community come down like that in Savannah and Macon," said Dawson County High School senior Cole Waters. "It's like they're giving us support to give them support. It's feeding our enthusiasm."

Waters is the leader of the "Crunk Crew," a group of students who formed last year to get the crowd active and excited during games. The last two contests were particularly exciting.

"We all caravanned last week for the game and filled up one section of the stands," he said. "I'm happy for the girls and where we got. I'm happy with that [trophy]. It's awesome just to get there."

Jute Wilson, principal of the high school, attributed that support in part to the players' deep county roots.

"Every one of those girls has grown up in Dawson County and they are all honor students," he said. "In this day of recruiting and athletes moving from school to school to chase a championship, it's a whole lot more worthwhile to see our kids that grew up with us on the court. A lot of their parents played for us."

School Superintendent Keith Porter said the girls represented the county just as much as the fans who turned out to support them.

"We're very proud of the performance of our girls throughout the year and at the tournament," he said. "They've done some unprecedented things this year.

"They played extremely hard in the finals and represented Dawson County very well."

Wilson said that it was "obvious," the amount of support the team had garnered.

"The whole town was proud, that was obvious in the turnout in Macon," he said. "In talking to the people at the tournament, Saturday was the last night of about 13 state championships and they made the comment that we had the biggest and best crowd in the whole thing and that's including the big AAAAAA schools.

"Dawson County was represented and there's definitely a certain pride we take in our kids."

In addition to the long postseason road trips, the community has turned up to support its teams all season.

Take March 8, for example. Fans formed a tunnel of hugs and high-fives to escort the Lady Tigers to the bus that would take them to Macon.

After leaving the high school, the bus stopped at other schools in Dawson County so the players could visit with younger fans.

"The students were thrilled," said Tracy Compton, principal at Kilough Elementary. "They were excited and inspired by the players coming out to see them before they left."

Much of the local school board also made the trek to Macon.

"I think it was a great game. I'm very proud of them," said Doris Cook, who chairs the board. "The turnout was awesome. I think it was probably the best we've ever had, even at some of our home games."

Cook echoed Wilson's thoughts on the community support and the wave of maroon and gold that swept through middle Georgia.

"It was huge," she said. "Comments were made by some of the folks that were sitting near us that were from St. Pius that they thought they had a big community support and that we far exceeded that."

The city and county governments also showed their support. Both plan proclamations in honor of the Lady Tigers.

Dawsonville will also be holding a luncheon from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame.

In addition, Etowah Masonic Lodge F&AM No. 222 plans to treat the girls to lunch March 13 at the high school.

 

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