MACON - Playing in their first state championship game since 1991, the Dawson County High girls came up on the short end of a 77-55 decision to St. Pius X in the Class AAA state championship game on Saturday at the Macon Centreplex.
The Golden Lions from Region 6-AAA jumped out to an 11-1 lead before Dawson County rallied behind the play of post player Ashley Parker.
Parker, a sophomore, had 20 points and eight rebounds for the Lady Tigers, while Carly Gilreath chipped in 14 points.
Sophomore Seabolt also scored 14 points with six rebounds in the loss for Dawson County.
"I am so proud of the way our team played," said Dawson County coach Steve Sweat. "St. Pius has two guards that are difficult to guard and when they get going they were hard to stop."
Parker scored six points in the first quarter to cut the St. Pius lead to 14-11 with 1:29 to play.
With only 19 seconds remaining in the quarter Sheyenne Seabolt stepped in front of an errant St. Pius pass and laid it up to cut the score to 16-13 at the end of the quarter.
Dawson County tied the score at 16-16 at the 7:05 mark of the second. The Lady Tigers took their only lead of the game, 21-19, on a three-pointer by Seabolt with 6:13 to go before halftime.
Jasmine Carter (19 points) and Asia Durr (26 points) then went to work for the Lady Golden Lions. Turnovers and missed shots allowed Durr and Carter to exhibit why they are elite players.
The two underclassmen drove to the basket and converted several outside shots to spur St. Pius on a 13-0 run and a 34-21 lead. The Lions never relinquished the lead.
Durr also converted 11 of 13 free throws.
St. Pius didn't let up in the second half and extended its lead to as much as 22 points in the third quarter.
Dawson County was in foul trouble for much of the afternoon. Three Lady Tigers fouled out in the contest.
St. Pius converted 25 of 35 free throws in the game. Dawson County was 12 for 17.
"We now have to say goodbye to our six seniors. They have worked so hard and accomplished so much. There aren't many players in this game that can say they have a trophy and played for a state championship," Sweat said.
Dawson County will graduate Gilreath, Kacie Bearden, Hannah Porter, Allie Costley, Whitney Glover and Kenna Seitz.
"I'm just really happy to be able to enjoy this moment with these girls," Seitz said. "It is a blessing that doesn't happen often. For it to happen to us, a small little town, it's a Cinderalla story that almost came true."
According to Gilreath, she wouldn't have wanted her senior season to end any other way.
"It's just been great. I just want to thank all the fans and everybody that came out and supported us. Obviously, you can tell from the crowd tonight that we have more fans and support than anybody. It has been a great season," Gilreath said.
Scoring for Dawson County were: Parker, 20 points; Gilreath and Seabolt each scored 14 points; Costley,five points and Seitz had two points.
Scoring for St. Pius were: Asia Durr, 26 points; Jasmine Carter, 19 points; Mackenzie Garrison, 11 points; Laura Redmon, nine points; Miah Allen, four points; Adriana Davis, three points; Sallie Varner and Courtney Tuttle scored two points each and Sabrina Thomas scored one point.