The never give up attitude that Head Coach Thad Burgess preaches to his players was definitely evident during last Saturday’s state tournament game.
The Tigers battled to the end, but it wasn’t enough as the team dropped a 71-48 decision to #6-ranked Chattooga.
With the loss, Dawson’s season came to an end.
The Tigers finished the season with a 16-12 record and a Region 8-AA runner-up trophy under their belts.
“Our kids battled against a much more athletic team,” said Burgess. “I was disappointed about the outcome, but I couldn’t have been more pleased in the way we played.”
The Ford E. Phillips Gymnasium was packed, as fans came to see Dawson play its first-ever home state playoff game.
The Tigers fell behind 5-0, but fought back to take a 6-5 lead on two 3-pointers, one each by Seth Stowers and Jacob Evans. It was the last time Dawson held a lead in the game.
Chattooga rebounded and ran the fast break to perfection taking a 17-11 advantage after one quarter. Rashad Ramsey had a big first quarter for the Indians, scoring eight points.
Ramsey ended up as the leading scorer for the game, with 27 points.
“It was a great atmosphere, it was the biggest crowd since I have been here. It was a great environment and Chattooga brought a big crowd. They are #6 in the state and are 21-4. We knew they were a good team. We were just hoping that maybe they wouldn’t shoot the ball quiet as good from the 3-point area tonight. When they’re making shots out there, it’s just tough for us to match up,” Burgess said.
The Indians connected on six 3-point shots during the contest.
Dawson was outscored 23-13 in the second quarter and allowed Chattooga to take a 40-24 lead into the locker room at halftime.
It was a deficit the Tigers couldn’t overcome.
Chattooga pulled away in the third quarter and took a 25-point lead, 58-33, going into the final quarter.
Sophomore Tiger point guard Stephen Scaife tried to keep Dawson in the game.
Scaife led all Dawson scorers with 20 points.
“Scaife got tired because he has to handle the ball 90 percent of the time,” said Burgess.
Tiger senior Stowers also scored in double digits with 11 points in his last high school game.
Blythe Chester was also playing in his final contest as a Tiger. Chester rebounded well, pulling down six boards. He also scored four points.
“Chester and Stowers stayed with us all four years. They have been a part of three playoff teams. We are really going to miss them,” remarked Burgess about his two seniors.
“I thought we battled them on the boards, but they just have a little bit more leap in them. I thought we got a little tired because we are not as deep as they were. They started to make some runs because we were tired. I hate to lose at home, but we couldn’t ask anymore than what we did with our kids. Evans had to play so many minutes and it does affect his shooting,” Burgess said.
“In my 30 years of coaching, this group has surprised me more in the way they compete. This team has surpassed any possible scenario that you could have predicted. To play at home was just great. I think we are still moving on with the program. We have some young kids, but we got to find some depth. We just don’t have a lot of numbers out. I think this game was a big step ahead for us. It gave our people a chance to see the effort we play with,” Burgess said about his program.
Tiger scorers: Scaife-20; Stowers-11; Evans-8; Chester-4; Kaleb Holbrook-2; Ryan Morawsky-2 and Levi Wilson-1.