Effort, heart and persistence were three key terms to describe the Dawson County boys' basketball team last week.
The Tigers won a big 70-59 game at home with White County on Jan. 21, before dropping a 47-43 nail biter with East Hall in overtime Friday.
The Tigers jumped out to an early lead against White County holding a 30-28 lead at halftime and poured on the offense in the second half outscoring the Warriors 40-31 to take the 11-point victory.
Dawson County placed four players in double digits lead by Lucas Pain with 24 points. Jackson Putnam, Levi Whitmire and Cameron Millholland chipped in with 19, 13, and 12 points respectively.
The leading scorer for White County was Spencer Adams with 20 points.
Tigers Coach Thad Burgess said the boys played their best game of the season against White County.
"It was a very important game for us. Our players were very focused on both offense and defense in the win," he said.
But against East Hall Friday night, the Tigers battled early foul trouble.
Mistakes by Putnam, Millholland and Whitmire led to the Tigers being sluggish on both the offensive and defensive end.
The Vikings took a 35-26 lead in the third quarter, but Dawson County fought back to cut the lead to 36-33 with just over six minutes to go in the fourth quarter.
When East Hall Coach Joe Dix used a stall strategy on offense holding the ball, Burgess told his Tigers to play back on defense and not come out.
Viking Tristan Cooper extended East Hall's lead to 39-35, hitting a pair of free throws with 1:05 remaining in the game.
Whitmire answered on Dawson County's next possession with two free throws with 31 seconds remaining to make the score 39-37.
Dawson County then fouled East Hall player Kyvon Davenport, who connected on 1-of-2 charity shots.
The Tigers rebounded the miss and Whitmire hit a long 3-pointer to tie at 40 and send the game to overtime.
Dix used the same approach in OT.
Dawson County fouled on two consecutive possessions, and the Vikings answered by knocking down four straight free throws to take a 45-41 lead.
Lucas Pain closed the gap hitting a shot and cutting the lead to 46-43 with 29 seconds remaining in the OT.
Dawson County had its chances but missed several 3-pointers in the last few seconds.
Whitmire led the Tigers in scoring with 16 points. Millholland added 6 points and Jackson Putnam scored 8 points.
"I am proud of our team," Burgess said. "We were in terrible foul trouble all night with two of our players eventually fouling out. We totally controlled the boards and played terrific defense which shows effort was there by our players. We just didn't have enough to finish at the end after trailing the entire second half until Levi (Whitmire) hit the three-pointer late. I was also proud of our effort from out bench."
The next two weeks will decide where Dawson County will end up in the Region. The Tigers are currently tied with East Hall, splitting the season series with the Vikings. East Hall has already lost to Buford twice but the Tigers still have a match-up with the 10-0 Wolves this Friday in Dawsonville.
Dawson County will play three of its last four games at home.