The Dawson County boys' basketball team traveled to Pace Academy last weekend for the first round of the Class AAA tournament.
The imposing Knights, led by the nation's top prospect in high school basketball Wendell Carter, Jr., literally overshadowed the Tigers on their way to a 63-30 win.
The build up to facing the team with storied talent may have been part of the issue, according to Head Coach Chad Pittman, but in the end the Tigers shooting took them out of the game.
"I don't think we could've gone 0-for-19 if we told them to miss on purpose," Pittman said about the first half.
When the Knights' 6' 6" junior Isaiah Kelly won the jump and promptly took the ball down for a dunk, the tone for the game was set early.
With 1:19 in the first quarter, the score was 8-0 and the Knights had three dunks.
Dawson County's only points in the first half came on free throws.
Cullen Reed hit two and then added a third just before the break when the Tigers were down 28-3.
Reed finished the game with 11 points.
It was clear that most of the crowd came to see the Duke-committed Carter play.
At 6' 10" and 262 pounds, he proved formidable.
"In 21 years of coaching, he was the biggest human I have seen playing high school basketball," Pittman said.
Campbell Reed hit two in the paint in the third quarter after Jeremiah Crumley had 2 points off a rebound.
Campbell Reed added a 3-pointer and Pace called a time with 4:59 in the third.
After another Carter dunk and dunk off an alley-oop, the Knights began to substitute for more of their starters.
"Everybody wishes they would win their last game," Pittman said. "When I look at what we were able to accomplish and how we grew individually and as a team, there are definitely positives."
Making it into the state tournament was one of the team's goals and Pittman said it is an expectation going forward.
"You look for ways to measure growth," he said. "Basketball is a marathon, not a sprint. It was a grind most every night. I'm really happy and pleased with what we accomplished and our growth this season."
Pittman said he could not be more pleased with the community and support the team received in his first season as head coach of the Tigers.
The team finished the year at 14-14 overall and 7-5 in region play.