The Lady Tigers traveled to Savannah Feb. 26 for a GHSA state tournament Elite Eight matchup with Georgia’s top ranked AAA team, Beach High School. After controlling the game through three quarters, Dawson County was unable to hold off the Bulldogs' final surge and saw their lead, and the game, slip away in the fourth quarter as Beach came from behind to advance to the Final Four by a final score of 64-51.
“It was a good game, except for the fourth quarter,” Head Coach Steve Sweat said. “The only problem is you have to add all four quarters together for a total score.”
Dawson County jumped out to an early lead with a long 3-pointer from senior Kaylee Sticker, after which both teams transitioned to an aggressive interior game that generated points and fouls throughout the first period. The Lady Tigers grabbed a 17-13 lead by the end of the quarter.
Defense was the name of the game in the second as neither team crossed double digits in scoring nor took advantage of free-throw opportunities, with the Lady Tigers shooting an abysmal 20 percent from the line and Beach hitting only half of their attempts. Scoring only 7 points apiece, the teams hit the locker rooms with the score at 24-20 in favor of Dawson County.
The game opened up in the third quarter and the Lady Tigers found success from the outside as Sticker sank another long 3-pointer, and sophomore Maddie Anglin began to drop buckets from the corner, but the Bulldogs found equal success to whittle the lead down to 38-37 as the teams headed into the final stretch.
An exchange of buckets in the opening minutes of the fourth tied the game at 41 when the Bulldogs broke loose for a 9-0 run to steal the lead and the momentum with just over four minutes remaining in the contest.
The Lady Tigers responded with an aggressive defense that interrupted the Beach offense but resulted in an incredible 18 free-throw attempts for the Lady Bulldogs, of which they sank 14 to score over half their points in the period from the line.
Sticker and junior Sophia D’Oliveira found success in the paint, but the Lady Bulldogs held strong to their late game lead and the last-minute efforts from the Lady Tigers proved not enough by the final buzzer and the team’s incredible season was brought to an end by a final score of 64-51.
Dawson County finished the 2018-2019 basketball season as an Elite Eight team with an overall record of 22-9 and as the third-place team in Region 7-AAA with a regional record of 9-3.