Dawson County High School varsity girls basketball coach Steve Sweat said at the beginning of the season that he anticipated Region 7-AAA to be one of the toughest in the state. Sweat proved to be right, as all four teams from the region advanced to the "Sweet Sixteen" round of the state tourney Feb. 21 and 22.
Region 7-AAA defeated all four teams from Region 5-AAA; East Hall defeated North Murray, 61-36, Buford won over Ringgold, 64-29, North Hall edged No. 1-seed Sonoraville, 62-53, and in the biggest game of all, Dawson County defeated a very talented Cartersville team, on their home floor, 58-48.
"It was a very physical game in their own gym," Sweat said.
The Lady Tigers took control early and led 16-12 after one quarter.
Dawson County used a special defense to control Lady Hurricane point guard Kaelyn Irby. The talented guard was held to just 11 points for the game.
Sweat's team continued its dominance in the second quarter and outscored Cartersville 15-13 to take a 31-25 lead at halftime.
Ashley Parker had a huge first half with 12 points for Dawson County. The talented junior scored a game-high 22 points. Parker also pulled down 13 rebounds for a double-double.
Cindy Moore's Cartersville team put up a good fight in the third quarter and tied the score at 37-37 with 2:04 left, and again at 39-39 with 1:29 left in the quarter.
Dawson County answered with five consecutive points off of scores from Karlie Bearden, Sheyenne Seabolt and a free throw by Parker to take a 44-39 lead at the end of three quarters of play.
Cartersville (22-5) just couldn't find an answer to the Dawson County defense. The Lady Hurricanes committed several turnovers and missed some forced shots in the 10-point defeat.
"It was well worth the trip to get that win and a trip to the Sweet Sixteen," Sweat said. "We also have 20 wins on the season."
Dawson County's record is now 20-9.
Bearden scored 16 points and Seabolt had 11 points and 10 rebounds in the game. Finishing out the scoring were: Madison Shope, Haley Burgess and Peytan Porter with three points each.
Up next was Morgan County. The Lady Tigers traveled to Morgan County to take on the Lady Bulldogs at 7 p.m. Monday.
Morgan County is the Region 8-AAA champion and has a 21-4 regular season record.
The Lady Bulldogs defeated Blessed Trinity 68-53 to advance.
"Morgan County is going to be tough to beat," Sweat said. "They are very athletic. They split with Buford this season. We will have to play good to beat them at their place, but I am just glad to still be playing."
The Lady Tigers were defeated 67-55.
Morgan County will face the winner of St. Pius and East Hall. The game will be played at the school of the higher seed on Feb. 26.
The Lady Tigers season is over.