In a match-up featuring two teams from last year’s state tournament the Dawson County Lady Tigers hosted the Flowery Branch Lady Falcons on Nov. 15 to open the 2018 – 2019 season.
“This team played in state last year,” said assistant coach Carly Anglin. “They’re a good team. It will be a good test.”
The test started from the opening buzzer as the Lady Falcons, led by Caroline Wysocki and Ashley Woodruffe, came out with a fast-paced, aggressive style that forced a series of turnovers and quickly went on an 11 to 0 run against the Tigers in the first two-minutes of the opening period.
After a quick time-out, the Lady Tigers returned to the floor and found their offense as senior Kaylee Sticker came open in the corner to sink the first of her six three-pointers of the contest.
As the first period continued freshman Ella Siuta, sophomore Mariah Benson, and junior Marlie Townley all put points on the board, but the team could not slow down the Falcons and entered the second period trailing 23 – 13.
Sticker, who finished the night with 31-points and 7 of 9 from the line, continued to lead the Tigers scoring attack in the second period and the team’s defense started to come together and they were able to outscore the Falcon’s by a margin of 15 – 10 in the period and cut the lead in half to trail by five at the break.
“As long as we don’t stay the same. Always closing that gap,” said Head Coach Steve Sweat. “We managed to cut the lead in half in the second.”
Every member of the team put points on the board, as the Tigers moved the ball effectively around the court to find the open shooter, but the team’s defense truly rose to the occasion, as Townley and senior Anna Lowe snatched rebound after rebound from the Falcon’s to hold Flowery Branch to a meager 7 points in the period and allow Dawson County to take a 46 – 40 lead into the final period.
The fourth period became an almost personal battle between the Falcon’s Wysocki and the Tiger’s Sticker as both players tried to will their team to victory.
Wysocki went 5 for 7 from the line and had a brilliant pair of plays when she sank a three-point shot from the corner and then stole the inbound pass for a quick two to tie the game late in the period.
Sticker responded by going 6 for 7 and adding an additional five points of her own to lead the Tigers in scoring and give her team just the needed edge to hold on for a final score of 65 – 57.
“It scared me when they tied it back up in the fourth” Sweat said. “But then we sank a couple of free throws and went on to win.”