The No. 2 seed Dawson County Lady Tigers (18-7 regular season and 9-3 in the region) opened the 7-AAA regional tournament with a first round victory against the No. 7 seed Fannin County Lady Rebels with a final score of 64-61, advancing the Lady Tigers to the second round.
In addition to the opportunity to advance to the second round of the 7-AAA tournament Assistant Coach Carly Anglin emphasized that the Lady Tigers were also playing for a spot in the upcoming GHSA state tournament.
“We just need to play hard and do what we’re supposed to do,” Anglin said. “They have nothing to lose and we do.”
Dawson County rode a 5-game winning streak into the contest, and the team needed to muster every bit of that momentum to hold off a highly motivated Fannin County squad.
The Lady Rebels played their best basketball of the season and pushed the Lady Tigers at both ends of the court after having built an early lead on a pair of 3-pointers to open the game. Dawson County took the lead for the first time of the night at the end of the first period but were never able to pull away and took a slight 5-point lead into the locker room at halftime.
Fannin County continued to play aggressively during the third period and managed to outscore the Lady Tigers 17-13 and whittled the distance between the teams down to one point as they prepared for the fourth quarter.
The lead changed hands several times early in the fourth period as the teams realized that one of their seasons would be over when the buzzer sounded. They battled to the final minute before Dawson County, on the strength of some clutch free-throw shooting from senior Kaylee Sticker and sophomore Maddie Anglin, secured the win.
Sticker led the Lady Tigers in scoring with 23 points and, on her sixth shot of the game early in the second period, passed 1,500 points for her career with Dawson County to become the second leading scorer in the history of DCHS girls’ basketball.
The win advanced Dawson County (No. 2) to the second round of the 7-AAA regional tournament to face the North Hall Lady Trojans (No. 3) at North Hall High School Feb. 8. Tipoff is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. The winner will move on to face either the No. 1 Greater Atlanta Christian Spartans or the No. 5 Cherokee Bluff Bears in the tournament championship game Feb. 9.