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Lady Tigers wrap up basketball season
Team makes it to state tournament for sixth year in a row
girls bball jan 24 2
Junior Kaylee Sticker goes for a lay-up and scores for the Lady Tigers during their victorious rematch against region rival Lumpkin County Jan. 24. - photo by Jessica Taylor

The 2017-18 season for the Dawson County girls’ basketball team was highlighted with a sixth straight trip to the state tournament, and although they fell in the first round, 56-35, to an undefeated Franklin County team on the road, the Lady Tigers 15-13 record still felt like a success to their head coach.

“It is always good to win more than you lose,” Head Coach Steve Sweat said. “We made it to the state tournament which is always a goal for us.”

Despite an improvement in their overall record from last year’s 12-18 season, as well as an improvement in their region record (from 5-7 to 6-6 in Region 7-AAA), the Lady Tigers couldn’t duplicate last year’s quarterfinal run, failing to win a game in the state tournament for the first time during their stretch of six straight appearances.

The Lady Tigers drew the No. 4 seed out of Region 7-AAA after losing to Greater Atlanta Christian (22-4, 12-0 7-AAA) in the semifinals of the region tournament.

This meant traveling to face the No. 1 seed out of Region 8-AAA, the only undefeated team in all of Class AAA, so there is certainly no shame in failing to pull off a massive upset especially considering the amount of injuries the Lady Tigers accrued throughout the season.

“We had to battle with more injuries this year than ever before,” Sweat said. “But we fought through it all and came out on the winning side more often than not. The girls worked hard as they always do. Basketball is a long season and it takes a lot of time, effort and dedication.”

Junior Kaylee Sticker led the team with 17.5 points per game and scored the 1,000th point of her career this season. Senior Calli Watson scored 10.1 points per game while shooting 73 percent from the free throw line and set a school record with 9 three pointers made in a single game.

Junior Anna Lowe led the team in rebounds with 6.5 per game, and senior Abi Chatham had a team-high 3.3 assists per game.

Sticker, Chatham and Watson all made the 7-AAA All-Region Team for the 2017-18 season.

“I am proud of them for all of their accomplishments this year,” Sweat said. “As I have said before, I am blessed to be their coach.”

In addition to Chatham and Watson, the Lady Tigers will also be losing seniors Cadey Ayers, Kati Brady and Emma Brown to graduation, but will return top point-scorer Sticker and top rebounder Lowe for their senior seasons as Dawson County looks to make its seventh consectutive trip to the state tournament in 2018-19.

“A special thank you to our five seniors for their leadership to our team and school,” Sweat said. “I would also like to thank all of the people who supported us in any way this year.

“As far as next year, we are looking forward to getting started on another winning season. We always expect to win every game.”