The Lady Tigers advanced to the Elite Eight of the GHSA basketball tournament with a hard-fought victory over the Lovett Lions in Atlanta on Feb. 20.
Dawson County led at halftime, but found themselves hard-pressed in the second half and had to come from behind late in the game to win by a final score of 62-55
“We had a 33-25 lead at the half. But Lovett had a good third quarter and took the lead,” Head Coach Steve Sweat said. “I was really proud of the girls for coming back after Lovett made their run in the third quarter.”
Senior Kaylee Sticker opened the game with a quick 5 points and junior Marlie Townley continued her high level of play underneath the net as the Lady Tigers went on a 12-5 run to open the game and closed out the first period with a 19-11 lead.
Both teams deployed a full-court, in-your-face style of defense in the second period and neither unit found the net until the four-minute mark of the period, when sophomore Shyla Sheffield calmly nailed a pair of free throws to put the Lady Tigers up by 10 and unleashed a scoring frenzy from both teams over the final minutes of the first half.
Led by senior Sydney Johnson, the Lady Lions fought to within 2 points of the lead before Sticker nailed a trio of 3-pointers to close out the half and send the Lady Tigers into the locker room up by 8 with the score at 33-25.
Lovett continued their aggressive play in the second half and opened the third with a 5-0 run to put the Lady Tigers on their heels. The Lady Lions continued to press their advantage and briefly took the lead late in the period, but a pair of last-minute buckets from Sticker put the Lady Tigers back on top 41-39 heading into the final quarter.
The teams played at a furious pace in the fourth quarter as they traded point-for-point, until a hard foul on junior Sophia D’Oliveira rallied the Lady Tigers for a 6-0 run in the final minute of the game. Dawson County sealed the victory by a final score of 62-55.
With the win the Lady Tigers extended their season record to 22-8 and advance to the Elite Eight round, which will take place on Feb. 26 where they will face either Central Macon or Beach High School for their shot at the Final Four.