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BASKETBALL: Dawson boys push the region’s best team in close loss, Lady Tigers fall behind early
Trey Harvey goes up for a layup against White County. He scored 17 points in Dawson’s 67-59 loss. - photo by Rio White

After strong starts to their respective seasons, the Dawson County varsity boys and girls basketball teams are looking to get back on track — with both teams facing losing streaks after falling to White County at home on Friday, Jan. 13.

Just a few days after losing to a 4-14 Lumpkin side, the boys team put together a vastly improved display in a 67-59 loss to White, who brought an undefeated Region 7-3A record to Friday night’s visit to the Ford Phillips Center.

Earlier that night, the girls team had the opposite problem. After keeping within touching distance in a 9-point loss to defending state champions Lumpkin, the Lady Tigers could not get their offense going in a 52-39 loss to the Lady Warriors, who also came in without a loss in region play.

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In between the two games, the future of Dawson County sports was on display as a vast group of up-and-coming youth basketball players were recognized as part of Parks and Rec Night.

The kids, representing several age groups, had the chance to walk around the entire court to get a first glimpse of what their future Tigers career might hold in store for them.

For boys team head coach Todd Cottrell, just a few missed chances made all the difference for the Tigers in a game that stayed within a single-digit margin nearly all night. 

“There were some plays out there we were not making that we have to make in a game like this,” Cottrell said. “I thought we kept our poise really well [but] the last couple minutes we didn’t execute like we needed to. We were better today than we were Tuesday, but we can’t step backward. We have to get better now.”

Facing a well-organized opponent, the Tigers kept pace early on by playing aggressively inside. The work of Trey Harvey and Caden Reed to maintain a presence in the paint allowed the team to maintain small deficits. 

With Dawson trailing 22-18 after the first quarter, the visitors opened up a 10-point lead before the Tigers chipped away to put the halftime score at 39-34 in favor of White.

The game would only tighten from there, with the third quarter ending in a 53-50 Warriors lead — with Harvey hitting a shot from nearly half-court at the buzzer.

Despite a final tally of 17 points from Harvey, 12 from Reed and 11 from Joshua Priest, the Tigers could not make enough of their fastbreak opportunities and lost their fifth straight game.

The Lady Tigers fell behind early against a White County team who was looking to cement themselves at the top of the region.

One of Dawson’s usual strengths — scoring contributions from all across the roster — was absent against a defensively stout Lady Warriors side.

Junior Morgan Chester largely carried the load, with her and Eva Bishop combining for 28 of the team’s total of 39 points.

Chester looked strong again inside, scoring in the paint and drawing fouls to finish with 19 points.

But despite her best efforts, the Lady Tigers could not close the gap after trailing 28-14 at halftime.

“[White] is probably the best defensive team that we have in the region…if you’re not physical with the basketball, they push you around,” head coach Will Anglin said. “The tough thing about this region is you can’t play good one night and not good the next — the teams are too good.”

The Dawson County teams play Tuesday, Jan. 17 at Wesleyan before visiting West Hall on Friday, Jan. 20.