Dawson County’s first home playoff game since 2014 was a success as the Tigers rode the home crowd energy to a 66-53 win over Monroe Area in the first round of the Class AAA state playoffs on Saturday.
The Tigers (19-9) started fast, feeding off the home crowd fans, to take a 20-9 led at the end of the first quarter.
“In a game like today, it’s important to get off to a good start so the other team doesn’t have a lot of momentum,” said Dawson County coach Chad Pittman. “Our first quarter was key. It kind of set the tone today. It gave us some confidence early.”
The Tigers employed a balanced attack on offense with four players scoring double figures.
On a team with five seniors, the leading scorer was sophomore Campbell Reed with 17 points.
Seniors Ryan Gallenkamp, Cullen Reed and Jeremiah Crumley had 15, 14 and 10 points respectively.
“At this point in the season, everybody’s doing their homework, everybody knows what’s going on,” Pittman said. “(Monroe Area) obviously knows that the glue throughout last year and this year has been Cullen (Reed) and Jeremiah (Crumley), so they were playing them a little stronger than they were other people.”
Monroe Area (17-12) shut down Cullen Reed and Crumley for most of the game. Through three quarters, the duo only had a combined 12 points and the Hurricanes were able to cut the Tigers lead to just five points with 5:02 remaining.
That’s when the ‘glue’ of this Tigers team stepped up with back-to-back three-pointers.
First Reed, then Crumley to stretch the Dawson County lead to 54-43.
“All year long, when we’ve been really balanced with scoring and rebounding and everybody chipping in,” Pittman said. “We’ve been really good. Today, so many people did well. I thought everybody brought what they could give to our team today.”
The Tigers went 5-for-7 from the free-throw line down the stretch to secure the victory and will now travel to face Cedar Grove on at 7 p.m. Feb. 22.
Girls varsity basketball
The Lady Tigers (15-12) were not as fortunate as their male counterparts as their season came to an abrupt end Feb. 16 when they lost their first round of the State playoffs to Franklin County 56-35.
Calli Watson led the scoring with nine points, followed by Kaylee Sticker with seven, Sophia D’Oliveiera with six, Abi Chatham with five, Anna Lowe with four and Marlie Townley and Cadey Ayers with two points each.