In what turned out to be an early Christmas present, the Dawson County Lady Tigers varsity basketball team captured the Pacelli Christmas Tournament with a 57-35 victory over the host team.
The tourney win capped a great week for coach Steve Sweat's team.
The victory marked the second consecutive year that Dawson County has won the tournament.
Dawson reached the finals following a convincing, 79-23, win over Schley County in the opening round.
The Lady Tigers are currently 7-4 on the season.
"I don't know of a better way to start the Christmas break than by winning a tournament," Sweat said. "I want to thank our parents and families for the great crowd we had supporting us all the way in Columbus."
At the opening of the championship game Dawson looked a little tentative on offense and held just an 11-7 lead after one quarter of play.
Dawson extended its lead to 10-points in the second quarter, 27-17, after outscoring the Lady Paladins, 16-10.
Using a half-court trap the Lady Tigers opened up a 17-point lead at the end of three quarters of play to lead 45-28.
Sweat's team put the game away in the final quarter to bring the championship trophy home.
Junior point guard Carly Gilreath led Dawson County on offense with 12 points.
Freshmen Ashley Parker and Sheyenne Seabolt also scored in double figures with 10 points each in the win.
Defensively, Dawson dominated the boards. The Lady Tigers were led by Allie Costley's 10 rebounds. Costley also had six steals in the game.
Parker pulled down six rebounds along with teammates Kenna Seitz and Whitney Glover each with five rebounds apiece.
Lady Tigers scoring in the championship game were: Gilreath - 12 points; Parker - 10 points; Seabolt - 10 points; Costley - 9 points; Kacie Bearden - 5 points; Kim Wallace - 5 points; Morgan Huber - 2 points; Whitney Glover - 2 points and Seitz - 2 points.
The team dominated all phases of its game Dec. 19 against Schley County. The Lady Tigers came away with a 79-23 win in the team's opening game of the tournament.
The Lady Tigers limited Schley to single digit scoring in each quarter. Schley managed only 8, 3, 4 and 8 points in each quarter.
The ladies exploded on offense in the first half. The team scored 24 and 25 points respectively to open up a big 49-11 lead at half.
Dawson continued to score at will in the second half. The team sank 20 points in the third quarter and 10 points in the fourth quarter to come away with the 56 point win.
"Our scoring was spread around really good. It is always good to win the first night of any tournament and get the momentum on your side," Sweat said.
Dawson was once again able to place three players in double figure scoring.
Gilreath led the offensive charge with 15 points. She also dished out six assists.
Morgan Huber also had a big night offensively. She chipped in 12 points.
Post player Sheyenne Seabolt contributed 10 points to go along with her eight rebounds in the victory.
Lady Tigers' scorers: Gilreath - 15 points; Huber - 12 points; Seabolt - 10 points; Whitney Glover - 9 points; Kim Wallace - 8 points; Allie Costley - 7 points; Kenna Seitz - 6 points; Ashley Parker - 6 points; Hannah Moye - 2 points; Alison Honea - 2 points and Hannah Porter - 2 points.
The Dawson County team will participate in the Battle of the States Tournament this week at Towns County High School.
The Lady Tigers played at 10 a.m. today against Murphy, N.C. Results were not available as of press time.
The Lady Tigers are in the bracket with Union County, Murphy, N.C. and Hokes Bluff.
In the other bracket are host Towns County, Gordon Lee, Hayesville, N.C. and Polk County, Tenn.
Championship play will be Thursday.