For the first time in over three weeks, the Dawson County boys’ basketball team found themselves in the win column, putting in an all-around performance to defeat East Forsyth 77-69 on Friday, Jan. 21.
Two nights before, the Tigers had played well against Lumpkin County and were a few missed opportunities away from victory in a 67-59 loss. While in that game DCHS had several periods of errors, the game against East Forsyth was a different story.
Only at the very beginning and end of Friday night’s Homecoming clash did the Tigers find themselves under threat. The vast majority of the game saw both offensive and defensive tenacity that the team has been building toward.
“We defended a little better as the game went along,” head coach Todd Cottrell said. “But I thought we rebounded extremely well all night and made plays when we had to.”
Early in the game, the Broncos got out to a quick 7-0 lead and the tension on the Tigers’ bench was growing. Just as quickly, they turned that tension into an aggressive offensive outburst that culminated in a three-point shot by sophomore guard Caden Reed at the first quarter buzzer to take the lead.
For the next two quarters, the lightning-quick pace of the game allowed both teams to rack up the points, yet the margin remained close. With the score at 64-58 in favor of the Tigers early in the fourth quarter, they decided to put their foot on the gas.
After a quick layup by DCHS, the Broncos turned over the ball in haste and allowed senior forward Lane Perry to break away. He made the most of his opportunity, leaping into the air to slam an emphatic dunk to give the Tigers a 10-point lead.
While that impactful moment sparked a 11-0 run, the Broncos would score several times to remind the Tigers that the game was not quite over. In the end, the earlier push would prove enough for the Tigers to win.
“The past couple games, our fourth quarters haven’t been too great,” senior forward Luke Mulberry said. “We trust in each other, got open shots…it really came together in the end.”
For a team with only four wins this season, there is no shortage of effort and trust within the squad. Even on the sidelines, the players on the bench are in constant vocal support of their teammates. These traits are of critical importance to Cottrell.
“These guys, their effort and attitude all year has been fantastic,” Cottrell said. “A lot hasn’t gone our way…but I still think we’re an outstanding basketball team with a lot of room to improve.”
The Tigers will play their next game against Gilmer County on Tuesday, Jan. 25, at 6 p.m.