The Dawson County boys’ basketball season came to an end last Thursday night with a 64-52 loss at Cedar Grove in the second round of the Class AAA state tournament.
The Tigers (19-10) kept the game close throughout. Down 35-28 at halftime and 50-41 at the end of the third quarter, Dawson County remained within striking distance, but Cedar Grove’s athleticism was just too much for the Tigers to overcome as the Saints (23-6) racked up points on the fast break following missed shots and turnovers which made it hard to close the gap, but it wasn’t for a lack of effort.
“We really battled,” Head Coach Chad Pittman said of the Feb. 22 matchup. “Size and athleticism is something we haven’t had most nights we’ve played this year, but you can’t judge a book by its cover and our heart's really big.
“Most nights when we’ve walked in, we haven’t passed the eye test off the bus. But I think when we leave, we have everyone’s attention.”
After failing to make the state tournament their first two years, the Class of 2018 followed up last season’s tournament berth with Dawson County’s first win in the state tournament since 2014 against Monroe Area.
Against Cedar Grove, Seniors Cullen Reed, Jonathan Crumley and Ryan Gallenkamp finished with 18, 13 and 12 points respectively.
“The senior group has done an outstanding job,” Pittman said. “The leadership and the experience they’ve shown throughout the season, I couldn’t be more pleased.
“They just really today came out and poured it all out. Of course, we would’ve all liked to have played again next week, but some days you play everything you’ve got and the other team’s better. Today, they were better than us.”
The five seniors (Reed, Crumley, Gallenkamp, Wyatt Haase and Kane Pelfrey) may have played their last game in a Dawson County uniform on Thursday, but the hope is that a foundation has been laid for a continued success throughout the program.
“(Dawson County) is losing five seniors,” Reed said. “But they can definitely win a lot of games next year too. So, they need to be confident and feel like they don’t need to miss a beat.”