The Dawson County Tigers are beginning to be regulars in the Georgia High School Association basketball tournament.
Using stingy defense to defeat North Hall 44-31 Saturday night at the Ford E. Phillips Gymnasium on at home, the Tigers have now qualified for the state tournament seven out of the last eight years.
"It never gets old making the state," said Coach Thad Burgess. "I am very proud of this team. We have played great defense and rebounded every night. That shows great effort by our players."
The Tigers then defeated East Hall Monday night to contend for the Region title Tuesday against Buford.
Defensive intensity, a Tiger staple, was evident Saturday night. The Tigers got off to an 8-0 start before North Hall was able to score.
Dawson County controlled the tempo throughout the game, limiting the Trojans to only 10 first half points and a 19-10 advantage at the break.
The Trojans came out of halftime in a press to try to speed up the game and outscored Dawson County 11-9 to end the third quarter of play.
The Tigers still retained the lead by a 30-19 advantage.
The Tigers put the game away in the final eight minutes, cruising to a 13-point win.
"[The] win over North Hall was definitely an example of how well our defense has played all season," said Burgess. "It really feels good to moving on to the state tournament."
Two Tigers scored in double figures led by Cameron Millholland with 14 points and Sam Muenchen with 10 points.
Brock Wingo led North Hall with eight points.
The season comes to a close for North Hall as they finished the season with a 6-20 record.
Dawson County has an overall record of 20-6.
Up next in the Region 7-AAA semifinals for the Tigers was a very tough East Hall (15-11) team. The Vikings defeated West Hall 74-53 Saturday afternoon.
The teams split the overall series this season. Dawson County captured the first win 60-50, while Joe Dix's Vikings won the second meeting, 47-43.
"We had two really good battles with East Hall this year. It should be a great game," Burgess said.
The Tigers advanced to the finals with Monday night's 65-55 win over East Hall.
Dawson played Buford for the 7-AAA championship Tuesday night. Scores were not available at press time.
Dawson County will be matched up with Region 5-AAA in the State tournament.
Playing in that Region's semifinals are Ringgold (17-7) and Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe (16-9) in one game and Cartersville (23-2) and North Murray (14-10).