Just two nights after a frustrating 81-55 loss to Lumpkin County, the Dawson County girls’ basketball team bounced back to defeat East Forsyth 58-54 in overtime on Friday, Jan. 21.
With the game deadlocked at 54 points each in a tense overtime period, junior guard Kirklyn Porter took a contested three-point shot and made it with just over one second remaining. A technical foul on the Lady Broncos immediately following the basket then allowed DCHS to shoot a free throw to put the game out of reach.
“I wouldn’t have been in the situation to take that shot if I hadn’t had teammates making foul shots, hustle plays, and setting me up on defense,” Porter said. “We really just turn towards our teammates for guidance…we rely on each other and trust each other.”
After playing from behind most of the night, the Lady Tigers gradually clawed their way back into the game, culminating with a tense end to the fourth quarter. A series of late fouls by East Forsyth sent the Lady Tigers to the free throw line to chip away at the deficit and eventually tie the game on one last free throw with just seconds remaining in regulation.
Resiliency proved to be a theme throughout the game, particularly after the Lady Tigers fell behind in the first quarter. They trailed by as many as 13 points during the game but improved offensively and adjusted defensively.
On the offensive side, DCHS found success inside the paint after struggling from behind the arc early on and having several turnovers. Defensively, they found difficulty containing the Lady Broncos’ three-point aggression in the first half but adjusted to force East Forsyth into taking less accurate attempts in the second half.
“I thought we were rattled early. [East Forsyth] really got into our ball-handlers and disrupted us,” head coach Eric Herrick said. “I just thought we relaxed and settled down.”
That notion of the team having settled down was evident during overtime, as the DCHS defense gave few opportunities for East Forsyth to find a breakthrough. On the other side, however, the Lady Tiger’s offense missed some shots of their own, allowing the game to remain tied until Porter’s final shot.
Her last-ditch effort, and the raucous reaction from the crowd, would not have been possible without the team coming together and settling down when they were faced with a large deficit.
“If this was us last year, we would have panicked,” sophomore guard Morgan Chester said. “This year [we] are a lot more calm because we finally found each other.”
The Lady Tigers play their next game at home against Gilmer County on Tuesday, Jan. 25, at 6 p.m.