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Second half rally by East Forsyth ends season for Tigers basketball
Senior Luke Mulberry goes up for a shot against East Forsyth - photo by Rio White

In a back-and-forth affair, the Dawson County High School boys basketball team came up short against East Forsyth 64-54 in their first-round Region 7-AAA tournament matchup on Tuesday, Feb. 8.

The hot-handed Trey Harvey led all scorers with 23 points, but a tough second half for the host Tigers on the defensive end allowed the Broncos to rally. Dawson County led for much of the second and third quarters but fell victim to a hot-shooting East Forsyth team.

“We found ourselves a bit in the second quarter…but we kind of got away from what we were doing,” head coach Todd Cottrell said. “We struggled there for a little while and lost a lead, but we were right there.”

During the regular season, the two teams had split their two matchups, with East Forsyth winning at home in December while the Tigers won as hosts in late January. 

Coming into Tuesday’s matchup, both teams were getting hot on the offensive end. While the Broncos had become a threat from the 3-point line, the Tigers had become increasingly confident in their inside game.

After a difficult first quarter in which East Forsyth got out to a 9-0 lead, Dawson County would greatly improve in the second quarter by capitalizing on turnovers.

Senior Luke Perry dominated the paint and Harvey had no trouble shooting from distance as the Tigers went on a 25-9 run. With the halftime score at 25-18, the momentum was firmly on the hosts’ side. 

Senior Jackson Binkley looks to move the ball up the court against East Forsyth. - photo by Rio White

Not to be deterred, the Broncos began to shoot efficiently from 3-point range and found an advantage through aggressive rebounding. Just four minutes into the third quarter, the visitors regained the lead. 

While Dawson County continued to keep up well into the fourth quarter, the 3-point prowess of East Forsyth continued to expand their lead. After trailing by as many as 10 points, the Tigers chipped away until reducing the deficit to five points with one minute left in the game.

Despite a few final chances to further close the gap and the student section in full roar, the Tigers were not quite able to collect the rebounds needed for second-chance shots. 

With the loss, Dawson County finished the season 6-20.

As the crowd filed out of the Ford Phillips Center and the players headed toward the locker room, it was evident how tough of a pill this was to swallow for all the Dawson County players who had put everything out on the court, especially the seven seniors.

While the season may not have transpired the way the players and coaches wanted it to, the postgame emotions displayed by each student-athlete left no doubt as to their commitment and desire to represent their school to the best of their abilities.

“These guys had a lot of character, I’m really proud of them, and I wouldn’t trade them for anybody,” Cottrell said. “The things we talk about [as a team] are very important, more than wins and losses. I’m honored to coach them."