The Dawson County High School Tigers basketball team opened regional play last week and ended 1-1 prior to a non-regional shootout Dec. 8, where the Tigers took home victory over Collins Hill.
The team opened regional play on the road against the Fannin County Rebels on Dec. 4 and after establishing a commanding first half lead, the Tigers went on to an impressive 70–21 victory over the Rebels.
Senior Luke Chism set the tone for Dawson County in the first period as he repeatedly drove straight through the Rebels defense either scoring or drawing a foul on every attempt. Chism racked up a quick 8 points and, combined with a smothering defense, the Tigers led 19–4 after the first.
The Tigers poured it on in the second as Chism, along with fellow senior Jasper Gibson and junior Campbell Reed, demonstrated their accuracy from distance. Good rebound work by the team at both ends of the court led to more points from underneath the basket and the Tigers went into halftime with a massive 47–10 lead.
The Dawson County defense continued to add points to the board as junior Tate Adkins took over the distance work in the third period, sinking a pair of threes. Gibson added another 3-pointer to put the game out of reach as the buzzer sounded on a third period score of 63–14.
With a shortened clock, the Tigers slowed the game down dramatically in the fourth, with about an equal number of shots coming from the free-throw line and the field. The Rebels continued having difficulty with Dawson County defense and the game closed with a final score of 70–21.
Four Tigers posted double digits to the scoreboard as Chism led the team with 17 points on the night. Gibson followed with 13 and Adkins and Reed joined the club with 11 and 10 points respectively.
The Tigers then squared off with the Greater Atlanta Christian Spartans at DCHS Dec. 7 in their first meeting since last year’s regional final, in which the Spartans ended the Tigers’ season on their way to winning the state title.
Both teams opened the game with an aggressive play style and went point-for-point in the opening minutes, but a series of turnovers gave the Spartans the upper hand as point guard Hunter McIntosh was able to guide GAC to a 21–7 lead by the end of the first period.
The Tigers offense roared to life in the second period. Led by Chism’s aggressive inside play, the Tigers scored from all over the court as they put 22 points on the board. Unfortunately, McIntosh and Roy Dixon of the Spartans were able to keep pace with their red-hot 3-point game and GAC held a 44–29 lead over Dawson County at the half.
Chism dominated the lane for 11 points during the third period as the Tigers narrowed the lead to 8, but the Spartans continued to find success from the 3-point line and managed to maintain their lead as the period ended.
Down by 13 with one period remaining, Dawson County took their game to new heights as the team surged for 27 points in the final 8 minutes. Chism continued to work the inside as junior Eli Burress and sophomore Mason Barnes, along with Gibson and Reed, all finally found success from the 3-point line.
Despite the offensive push, the Tigers still had no answer for Dixon who continued to light up the board from distance and gave the Spartans the edge they needed to hold off the Tigers by a final score of 82–75.
“We played really well in the second half, especially after getting behind in the first half,” said Head Coach Chad Pittman. “We got off to a slow start and you can’t do that against a good team.”
The Tigers finished their week with a non-regional game against the Collins Hills Eagles in the North Georgia Report Dawson County Shootout on Dec. 8.
With Gibson and Burress out due to injury, the Tigers needed someone to rise to the occasion and they got just what they needed out of senior Ahmad Kamara. During the first period Kamara consistently won the ball at both ends of the court and led the offense with 10 points in the period.
Adkins established the outside game right away, sinking the first of his six 3-pointers on the night and Chism added points from the free-throw line as he drew multiple fouls trying to establish his presence in the middle.
Despite a late period rally mounted by the Eagles on a series of take-aways and the shooting skills of Jabiri Smith, the Tigers had opened a 29–12 lead by the end of the first period.
Dawson County extended their lead to 57–25 as they spread the ball around the court and posted points with Kamara and Chism in the lane and Adkins and Burress from distance.
The Eagles opened the third period with a more aggressive defensive style and used fouls to slow down the Dawson County offense, but they still had difficulty hitting the net and were unable to take advantage during the period.
The fourth period began under a shortened clock as Dawson County maintained a 69–37 lead over Collins Hill. An obviously deflated Eagles team did not put up much resistance as the Tigers wrapped up the game by a final score of 90–43.
Adkins led the Tigers in scoring for the night posting 25 points overall as he went 5 of 5 from the line in addition to his 3-point success. Chism backed him up with 15 points, and Kamara and Reed rounded out the Tigers top scorers with 12 points apiece.
The Tigers are scheduled to travel to North Hall High School for another regional battle with the Trojans on Dec. 14.