For the second time in less than four days the Dawson County High School varsity Tigers basketball team faced a worthy opponent. On the schedule this time was a trip to Gainesville to face a tough North Hall Trojan team.
The Trojans came into the game with a 14-1 record and a perfect 6-0 record in Region 7-AAA.
Dawson County, still playing without outside threat Will Anglin, was coming off a loss to Buford on Tuesday night.
Coach Thad Burgess' team came up on the short end of a, 56-42, score.
The Tigers are 14-2 overall and 4-2 in region action.
After a first quarter in which the Trojans were held to just five points, North Hall went on a, 9-0, run and then an, 8-0, run - both in the second quarter - to take a, 31-19, lead at the half.
For Dawson County, it was the second consecutive loss following a perfect start, and one that dropped the Tigers behind both North Hall and Buford in the region standings.
Tiger forward Camron Chester led the team with 11 points and 15 rebounds. Gunnar Armstrong added 10 points and Tyler Dominy blocked five shots in the first half alone, but finished with only three points.
"We played two very good teams this week," said Burgess. "I was pleased with our effort against North Hall, but we still had major troubles scoring again. Our depth troubles were present with our second quarter struggles going scoreless versus Buford and outscored 18 points by North [Hall].
"I like how we played in the second half against North Hall, and had a couple of runs, but could not make shots when we got close," he added.
According to Burgess, the environments his team has played in have also had an impact.
"We have played in three consecutive unbelievable environments at East Hall and North Hall, and the home game with Buford. There were not three better gyms to play in all of Georgia. I am proud our program and expectations are so high," Burgess said.
Jonathan Sanderson scored nine points in the loss. Joining Sanderson in the scoring column were Lucas Pain with seven points and Terrell Dawson with two points.
Ebo Smith and Adam Kelly led North Hall with 19 points each.
Dawson vs. Buford
Eleven months ago Dawson County defeated Buford in the Sweet Sixteen round of the state playoffs, 42-35, in Dawsonville.
Feb. 29, 2012 has been in the back of Coach Allen Whitehart's team's mind ever since the Dawson County win.
Last Tuesday night proved to be a rematch of two of the state's best teams in Class AAA. This time Buford got its revenge by defeating the Tigers, 53-36.
Buford used a strong second quarter to shut down the Tigers and end the team's undefeated record.
Dawson County came into the contest ranked No. 1 in Class AAA. Buford was ranked No. 6 with an 8-5 record.
"We got it circled for about a year," Buford coach Allen Whitehart said of the match-up. "Since that night."
The Wolves entered the second quarter with an 11-10 lead thanks to guard Isaiah Williams' lay up in the final minute of the opening quarter.
Neither team scored for the first 2 minutes, 35 seconds of the second period.
Then Justice Bartley made a lay up for Buford, Williams came up with a steal and a fast break lay up, and by the end of the half a defensive struggle had become a rout.
In all, spanning from Dawson County senior Tyler Dominy's 3-pointer late in the first quarter to his pair of free throws early in the third, Buford held the Tigers scoreless for 11:14, all the while scoring 20 unanswered points.
Both teams played without a key player, Dawson County without long-range threat Will Anglin (suspended after two technical's in a previous game) and Buford without Tennessee recruit and 6-foot-8 senior forward Davis (who was suffering from an injury).
Dominy did what Buford expected of him, leading the team with 16 points before exiting with three minutes remaining after getting a fifth foul.
"The scouting told us that they go as Dominy goes," Whitehart said. "He's a heck of a player, and he's their leader."
The Tigers made a small run in the third quarter, getting to within, 32-19, on a Sanderson lay up, but Doyle responded with a jump shot in the lane and a made free throw after the foul to start an, 8-0, run by Buford to finish the third.
Dominy scored eight of the team's 10 points in the opening quarter as the hosts, playing in front of an overflowing crowd, raced out to a, 5-0, lead and then a, 7-4, advantage before Buford came alive.
Following Dominy in scoring for Dawson County were Lucas Pain with seven points, Sanderson six points, Jackson Putnam - three points, Gunnar Armstrong with two points, and Dawson - two points.
"Buford was very focused and did a great job defensively and rebounding against us. They are very talented and played with more intensity than we did." Burgess said.
Up next for the Tigers will be an 8:30 p.m. home game against Fannin County on Friday.
Earlier this season, the Tigers defeated the Rebels, 50-27.
On Saturday, the Tigers will take on Rabun County at 2:30 p.m. at Phillips Arena in Atlanta.
DCN regional staff contributed to this story.