In Head Coach Chad Pittman’s second year at the helm, the Dawson County High School boys’ basketball team increased their win total by five games, from 14-14 to 19-10, including a win in the state tournament, their first since 2014.
It was a year of firsts for the senior class of Cullen Reed, Jeremiah Crumley, Ryan Gallenkamp, Kane Pelfrey and Wyatt Haase. Not only did they record the first and only tournament win of their tenure this season, they did it at home. A 66-53 win over Monroe Area was the Tigers' first time hosting a state tournament game since 2014.
“When (the new coaching staff) came in two years ago, all of (the seniors) bought in," Pittman said. "That summer was a little bit of a struggle, but we said, ‘Just keep working, this is not where we want to be. This is summer, we’re working for something special.’
“I feel like last year we saw glimpses. This year, Cullen as captain and Jeremiah co-captain, I felt like they both stepped up and really tried to lead. Cullen tried to be a little more vocal, and Jeremiah’s just one that comes in and works hard every day and leads by example.”
After missing the state tournament their first two years, Reed, Crumley and the rest of the senior class earned a trip to the tournament for the first time last year and followed it up with a Sweet 16 birth this year, and although they lost 64-52 at Cedar Grove, it’s hard to say this season wasn’t a success considering where they started four years ago.
“The senior group has done an outstanding job,” said Pittman after their loss to Cedar Grove. “The leadership and the experience they’ve shown throughout the season, I couldn’t be more pleased. Just real proud of all five seniors. They’re all going to be super successful in the real world because they’re high character guys.”
Reed led the Tigers with 16.2 points per game, was second on the team in rebounds (5.3 per game) and assists (3.2 per game) and was tied for first in steals (1.2 per game). Not only did Reed fill up the stat sheet in 2017-18, the senior also made the hustle plays as evident by leading the team in charges taken.
Crumley led the team in assists (3.5 per game) and was second on the team in scoring with 15.3 points per game. The senior was also third on the team in rebounds (4.7 per game) and steals (1.1 per game).
Both Reed and Crumley finished their careers at Dawson County as 1,000-point scorers with 1,419 and 1,239 points scored respectively.
Fellow senior Gallenkamp led the team in rebounds (6 per game) and steals (1.2 per game), as well as scoring 7 points and dishing out 2.1 assists per game. Pelfrey had 5.3 points, 4 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game in 2017-18.
As Dawson County looks ahead to the 2018-19 season, the Tigers will lean on rising junior Campbell Reed (10.6 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 1.8 apg) to help fill the void left by his brother and the rest of an impressive senior class.
“We’re losing five seniors,” said Cullen Reed about the program he’s leaving behind. “But they can definitely win a lot of games next year too.
“(The underclassmen) need to be confident and feel like they don’t need to miss a beat.”