Dawson County High School varsity girls basketball coach Steve Sweat's Lady Tigers team but came up on the short end of a 70-65 loss to Hayesville, N.C. in the finals of the Battle of the States tournament at Towns County High School last week.
The championship game was played Dec. 28 in the "Round Dome" in Hiawassee.
The Lady Tigers fell behind early and trailed 24-14 after one quarter of play.
Dawson County fought an uphill battle for the rest of the contest and was unable to forge ahead against the undefeated Yellow Jackets from Hayesville.
Hayesville is currently 9-0 on the season.
Coach Chad McClure's team made it to the championship game with a 47-34 win over Polk, Tenn. in the semi-final game.
Sheyenne Seabolt had a double-double with 24 points and 10 rebounds in the loss for the Lady Tigers. She was named to the all-tournament team.
Lady Tiger Karlie Bearden contributed 17 points and pulled down seven rebounds in the five-point loss. Bearden connected on five three-pointers in the second half. She was also named to the all-tournament team.
Junior post player Ashley Parker poured in 15 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in an impressive performance for a double-double.
Also putting points on the board for Dawson County were Haley Burgess - six points and Erin Chatham with three points.
The Lady Tigers currently have an 11-3 overall record.
"Our kids played hard we just couldn't overcome a slow start. We will take some time off and come back to practice to get ready for the second half of the regular season," Sweat said.
To earn the right to play for the championship, Dawson County defeated Gordon Lee in the semi-final game on Friday night with a close 59-52 victory.
Gordon Lee came into the contest with a 5-2 record.
"We were matched up with a real good Gordon Lee team," Sweat said. "It was pretty even game in the beginning, but we were able to get some quick points off of the press early on."
The press was effective and allowed the Lady Tigers to take an 18-9 lead after the first eight minutes of play.
The Lady Tigers continued the offensive barrage and led 39-24 at halftime behind the excellent play of post player Seabolt. She finished the game with an outstanding 33 point performance.
Both teams played evenly in the final two quarters.
Each team scored 33 points in the final 16 minutes with Dawson County coming out on top and earning the right to face Hayesville in the championship game.
Nine players made their way into the scoring column for the Lady Tigers. Following Seabolt were: Bearden with 12 points, Ashley Parker - nine points, Jordan Moore - five points, Burgess - five points, Madison Shope - four points and Alison Honea and Peytan Porter contributed two points each.
"We did a good job of sharing the ball on offense," Sweat said. "The girls did a great job of protecting the lead and finishing the game in the fourth quarter."
In the opening round of play, Dawson County routed Union County, 63-26.
The game was never in doubt with the Lady Tigers jumping out to a 21-10 opening quarter lead and extending their advantage to 39-14 at halftime.
The Dawson County defense played well and held the Lady Panthers to single digits scored in the final three quarters.
Parker had a wonderful game, she recorded a double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds.
Seabolt and Bearden also scored in double figures with 16 and 10 points respectively.
Also scoring for Dawson County were Brooke Wende - eight points, Burgess - four points, Honea and Porter had two points each.
Dawson County will continue Region 7-AAA play with a home game against East Hall on Friday. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.
On Jan. 7 the Lady Tigers will travel to Buford for a huge showdown with the Lady Wolves. Tip-off will be at 6 p.m.
The Lady Tigers are 2-1 in Region 7-AAA play.