Still fighting injuries, illness and unforeseen circumstances, the Dawson County High School Tigers basketball team had a tough week with losses to Region 7-AAA foe White County, 59-50, and Lumpkin County, 62-51, before rebounding on Saturday with a 48-45 win over Brookstone.
Dawson has an 8-3 overall record and the Tigers are 2-1 in region play.
Three Tiger players scored in double digits against White County in Cleveland on Dec. 17. It wasn't enough as Dawson County dug itself a big hole early, trailing by 20 points, before fighting back and succumbing to the Warriors by 9-points.
Lucas Pain led all Tigers scoring with 16 points. Pain was followed by Levi Whitmire and Sam Muenchen who both scored 10 points each.
Leading White County (7-1; 2-0) in scoring were Spencer Adams with 26 points.
"I like the way we fought back in the final three quarters against one of the best teams in the region. We battled defensively but were just overmatched in some areas," said Coach Thad Burgess.
The Warriors used a smothering full court press to get off to a quick 24-8 lead after one quarter. After the first quarter the Tigers played evenly the rest of the evening.
"We must learn to be smarter in late game situations," Burgess said. "Especially when we fought so hard to get back in the game."
White County moved to 7-1 overall and 2-0 in region play.
Also scoring for Dawson County were Cameron Millholland and Jackson Morgan with 3 points each. Terrell Dawson added 8-points in the loss.
Friday night the Tigers traveled to Dahlonega to face rival Lumpkin County. Earlier this season the team came away with a 50-40 victory.
This time the outcome was different. The Tigers managed only 11 first half points and trailed 27-11 at halftime against the Indians.
Dawson County picked up the pace offensively in the second half behind the 31 points from senior Lucas Pain. The Tigers outscored Lumpkin 40-35 in the final two quarters but it wasn't enough in the loss.
"We just had a poor first half against Lumpkin (7-3). I really liked the way we competed in the second half," Burgess said.
Also putting up points for the Tigers were Levi Whitmire with 10 points, Sam Muenchen and Millholland added four points each, Dawson and Jackson Morgan each had a single point.
Lumpkin County was led by Daniel McCrary with 18 points.
The Tigers then had to make a long trip to Columbus to face Brookstone (3-3) on Saturday for a 1:30 p.m. game.
Dawson County looked a little tired in the first half and trailed 26-21 at the break.
The Tigers turned up the offense in the second half outscoring Brookstone 27-19 to take the 3-point much needed win.
"We really stepped up against a very good and athletic team on the road in Columbus. We showed great effort and a desire to win in Columbus after traveling a day after a big game against Lumpkin the night before," Burgess said.
Dawson County placed three players in double figures. Leading the offense was Whitmire with 17 points followed by Muenchen and Pain with 15 and 11 points respectively.
Adding points to the Tiger win were Millholland with 3 points and Dawson with 2 points.
Brookstone was led in scoring by Jonathan Gordon with 16 points and Fred Davies with 15 points.
"I thought it very important for us to win going into a short break before the Battle of the States on the day after Christmas. Basically with an all new team, and also missing a couple of more players this week, we are facing different situations every game and I am trying to see how we respond," Burgess said.
"The key thing I am trying to stress is for us to compete every play. Our previous teams have taking great pride in defense and rebounding, this will be what we will stay after and will be our best chance to have success."
The Tigers will play again at the Battle of the States tournament held at Towns County High School December 26-28. Dawson County will open with Union County at 5:30.
The Tigers will play the winner of Gordon Lee and Towns County.