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BASKETBALL: Lady Tigers back on winning track as season intensifies
Abby Samples-Slaton drives toward the basket before making a layup against West Hall on Friday, Jan. 20. - photo by Rio White

With just a few games remaining in the regular season, the Lady Tigers varsity basketball team is back to their winning ways and rebuilding momentum ahead of the region tournament. 

Dawson had three games last week, dropping a road game at Wesleyan 72-43 before earning a 70-15 win at West Hall and a 53-43 win back home against Lakeview Academy.

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Currently, the Lady Tigers sit fifth in Region 7-3A with an 11-9 overall record and a 3-4 region mark. While they have yet to win against the top four teams in the region — all of whom are ranked in the top 10 in class 3A — Dawson has shown signs that they can compete against those teams.

But against Wesleyan on Tuesday, Jan. 17, the Lady Tigers faced the most efficient offense they have seen thus far. While Dawson managed to hold region powerhouses Lumpkin County and White County under 55 points, Wesleyan’s high-pressure attack resulted in a lopsided score. 

“I thought we could've done a better job preventing transition points, but that's easier said than done,” head coach Will Anglin said. “Wesleyan is very balanced and scores from multiple levels. They do a great job of pushing the basketball and putting pressure on the defense.”

While the Lady Tigers scored only a few more points than their previous loss to White County, they were able to create more scoring opportunities and establish a rhythm.

Outside of the second quarter, the Lady Tigers were able to take far more shots against Wesleyan than the stifling defense of White County. The game remained close after the first quarter at a 17-14 score before Wesleyan ran away with the game. 

“I thought we did a good job sharing the basketball and finding open shooters,” Anglin said. “We got whatever shots we wanted all night; we didn't make them in the second quarter.”

The Lady Tigers were able to get back into full form against West Hall on Friday, Jan. 20, with the visiting Dawson side establishing a foothold early on from beyond the arc before dominating the paint later in the game. 

Abby Samples-Slaton and Kirklyn Porter both found success from three-point range before Morgan Chester began to create scoring chances in the paint for herself and several teammates.

Holding a 36-9 lead at halftime, the Lady Tigers expanded their lead through the contributions of several bench players, including an all-around performance from Ava Roberson.

Samples-Slaton led all scorers with 20 points against West Hall.

Dawson followed up that win by defeating Lakeview Academy the next day, with Chester posting 15 points and 15 rebounds, while Eva Bishop contributed 15 points and eight rebounds.

The Lady Tigers host Gilmer on Tuesday, Jan. 24 and visit Pickens on Thursday, Jan. 26. Next week, Dawson will host Lumpkin County on Friday, Feb. 3.