It was Jekyll and Hyde performances for Head Coach Thad Burgess’ varsity Tiger basketball team last week. Dawson traveled to Rabun County for its first Region 8-AA game on Friday. The Tigers led for most of the ballgame just to see their 12-point lead evaporate in the fourth quarter. The Tigers ended up losing to the Wildcats, 51-46.
Saturday the team traveled to Gainesville for a game at Riverside Military Academy. The Tigers had to overcome a poor start to pull out a 56-51 double overtime win. The game was Dawson’s third overtime win this season.
Dawson currently stands at 9-3 on the season and 0-1 in region play.
On Friday, the Tigers made the long journey to Rabun County to face Tanner Plemmons, the reigning region player-of-the-year, and an improving Wildcat team. Plemmons had scored 40+ points in two games this season and 30+ points in four games so far.
Dawson did a great job defensively on Plemmons. The team held him to only two points for the first two quarters and only eight total points after three quarters. The Wildcat junior then caught on fire and scored 16 points in the final quarter for a game-high 24 points.
Plemmons connected on 3, three-pointers and was 5-for-5 from the free throw line in the final period of play.
The Tigers jumped to a quick 15-7 lead in front of a huge and rowdy crowd in Tiger. Dawson took a commanding 26-14 lead into the dressing room at halftime.
Tyler Dominy led the Tigers in scoring with 11 points in the first three quarters. Dominy led all Tigers with 19 points in the contest.
The third quarter was a seesaw affair with both teams trading baskets. Both teams scored 16 points in the quarter and Dawson clung to a 42-30 lead.
Plemmons led the fourth quarter attack against the Tigers as Rabun scored 22 points to only four points for the Tigers.
The offensive explosion allowed Rabun to come away with the five point win.
Rabun was automatic from the free throw line in the fourth, going 10-for-12 as Dawson had to foul late to try and get back in the game.
“The game went just as we had hoped until the end when we could not contain Plemmons and we did not handle ball pressure very well. We had a chance to pull off a big win on the road to start region play, but we just couldn’t pull it off. It looked like we just ran out of gas at the end. You could have heard a pin drop in the first half because we played so well, but we just let it get away from us,” Burgess said.
Rabun moved to 11-3 on the season and 1-0 in region play.
Scoring for Dawson were: Jacob Evans-12, Will Anglin-6, Levi Wilson-4, Gunnar Armstrong-3 and Stephen Johnson-2.
The Tigers looked really flat on Saturday afternoon as they faced a Riverside Military Academy team that Dawson had not beaten in Burgess’ tenure at Dawson County High School.
Early in the game it looked as though Riverside would come away with another win as they dominated the boards and outscored Dawson 11-2 in the first quarter. The Tigers only points came on two free throws at the 1:39 mark of the first quarter.
Dawson’s offensive struggles continued in the second quarter. The Tigers didn’t score their first field goal until Jacob Evans scored with 5:36 to go in the quarter. Burgess’ troops trailed 19-10 at half.
“We were really flat to begin the game,” Burgess said. “I don’t know if it was the late night coming back from Rabun or what, but we weren’t very good in the first two quarters and a half of play.”
Riverside extended it’s lead to 26-10 with 6:32 to go in the third quarter. It was then that Dawson’s offense finally caught fire.
The Tigers scored 10-points in the quarter to cut into the Eagles lead trailing 32-20 as the buzzer sounded ending the third quarter.
Evans and Tyler Dominy then got Dawson going.
Dominy, who had been benched for much of the third quarter, came into the game on fire.
Dominy scored on jump shots from the paint and drives to the basket and netted 12 points in the quarter.
Evans also scored on three, 3-pointers in the quarter for 17 total points for the game.
Dawson tied the game with 58 seconds remaining as Dominy scored and was fouled sending him to the free throw line where he converted to tie the score at 41-41.
With less then 14 seconds remaining in the game and the game tied at 43-43, Evans had two chances to score but missed both, which sent the game into overtime.
Dominy scored on two slashing drives to the basket to give Dawson a 47-43 lead in the first overtime. Riverside fought back and tied the game at 47 and sent the game into a second overtime.
The Tigers finally took the lead for good on an inbounds lay-up from Evans to Dominy that gave Dawson a 49-47 advantage.
Dawson connected on seven free throws down the stretch by Kaleb Holbrook, Dominy and Will Anglin to come away with the win.
“We chipped away then picked up our intensity and got back in the game. The guys did a good job of overcoming a bad start and coming away with a win,” Burgess said.
Dominy led all Tiger scorers with 23 points. Evans added 17 points, followed by Johnson with 7, Holbrook with 6 and Anglin with 3 points.
The Tigers will travel to Fannin County on Friday for another tough Region 8-AA match-up. Tipoff will be at 8:30 p.m.
On Saturday, the Tigers will play host to non-region opponent Mt. Pisgah. Game time will be 7:30 p.m.