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BASKETBALL: Craft, Celestin lead Tigers over West Hall in regular season finale
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Jake Craft launches a three-pointer during the 74-36 victory at West Hall on Friday, Feb. 5 to close the 2020-2021 regular season. Craft scored a game-high 28 points in the win. - photo by Jacob Smith

The Dawson County Tigers won 74-36 at West Hall on Friday, Feb. 5 in the final game of the 2020-2021 regular season. 

Jake Craft scored 28 points and Joakeim Celestin scored 21 points for 66.2 percent of the Tigers’ entire points in the game. Craft added three rebounds and two assists and Celestin recorded six rebounds and three assists. Max Tierny and Tyler Lane both rebounded the ball 10 times.

Despite being the second largest margin of victory this season, the Tigers were losing 19-18 in the middle of the second quarter. However, outsourcing West 56-17 from that point on secured the victory. 

“We played well enough to win, but this was not our best collective effort,” Tigers head coach Todd Cottrell said in a text after Friday’s game.

Eight different Tigers stole the ball on defense for 13 steals in the game. Cottrell said AJ  Moore and Tristan Talley’s play off the bench fueled his team with two huge steals. 

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Tyler Lane readies his free throw during the 74-36 victory at West Hall on Friday, Feb. 5 to close the 2020-2021 regular season. - photo by Jacob Smith

The win comes after Tuesday’s 76-63 loss against Cherokee Bluff. Craft scored a team-high 21 points in the effort. Lane recorded a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Jaden Gibson scored 15 points with a game-high six assists. 

The loss locks the TIgers (18-7, 9-3 in region 7-3A) in as the number three seed headed into the region 7-3A tournament. Dawson Co. will play the winner of Tuesday’s game between Gilmer and West Hall for a bid in the GHSA 3-A state tournament and to move onto the region semi-finals. 

The Tigers will host the game on Thursday, Feb. 11 at 6 p.m. The Tigers are 4-0 against the two teams this season. 

Assuming victory on Thursday, the Tigers would travel back to Cherokee Bluff High School to seek vengeance from Tuesday’s loss. If victorious, the Tigers will play for their third region championship in a row.