The Dawson County Tigers basketball team headed into their longest road trip of the season after beating up on the Pickens County Dragons 80–47 Dec. 21 at home.
The game got off to a slow start as the Dragons played a slow paced, keep-away style of basketball in the opening minutes and held the Tigers scoreless until senior Luke Chism finally broke free under the net to start a 5–0 run for Dawson County at the 6 minute mark of the first period.
Chism’s hard-charging inside game opened the court for Dawson County and juniors Eli Burruss and Jasper Gibson were able to take advantage of the Dragons from the outside as they both posted shots from beyond the 3-point line.
The Tiger defense kept Pickens County away from the net with a series of turnovers and Dawson County finished off the first period with a 21–12 lead.
A determined effort by Pickens County senior Seth Bishop kept the Dragons close through the halfway point of the second period until Campbell Reed, junior, found the net from the perimeter on back-to-back 3-point shots to extend the lead and put Dawson County firmly in control of the game at halftime as they took a 42–27 lead into the locker room.
The third quarter featured an offensive explosion from Dawson County as eight Tigers found the net during their time on the floor, and they went on to outscore the Dragons 25–14 in the period.
Bishop continued to be an issue for the Tigers in the fourth period, but his efforts came up short as the Tigers finished off the game with a stout defense to put down the Dragons by a final score of 80–47.
“I try not to get too caught up in what the other teams do,” said Head Coach Chad Pittman. “I feel if we play to our strengths, we’re pretty good.”
The strength of the Tigers was on full display as the team started a seven-game road trip Dec. 22 by traveling to Sequoyah High School in Canton for a game with the North Cobb Warriors during the War Lodge Invitational.
Sinking six 3-pointers in the contest, Gibson led the way for the Tigers with a total of 22 points on the night, while Chism and Reed added 16 points apiece to give Dawson County their second victory of the Christmas break by a final score of 70–50 over the Warriors.
The next stop for the Tigers was the first round of the 27th annual Deep South Classic, which took place on Dec. 27 at Brookwood High School in Snellville.
Facing off against the Atlantic Sharks out of Port Orange, Fla., the Tigers found themselves down early as they were outscored 19–12 in the first period.
Junior Tate Adkins, alongside Chism and Gibson, rallied the Tigers during the second period and Dawson County whittled the lead down to a mere 4 points as they headed into halftime trailing 28-32.
The Dawson County defense came out strong after halftime and held the Sharks to a mere 12 points in the third period as the Tigers continued to gain ground and took a 1-point lead into the final quarter.
The teams traded points throughout the final minutes with the Sharks holding onto a small lead as the game moved towards the final buzzer when senior Trey Pruitt came off the bench for the Tigers and drove the lane for two critical shots to close the gap and tie the score with less than a minute on the clock.
With the score tied at 60 and both teams preparing for overtime, Gibson drew a foul on the last play of the game with 1.7 seconds remaining in regulation play.
Given the opportunity to put the game away, he calmly stepped to the free-throw line and dropped both buckets to give the Tigers the last second victory 62–60 over the Sharks and gave Dawson County their third win of the week.
The win extended Dawson
County’s winning streak to six games and moved them into the second round of
the Deep South Classic where they took on the defending champions, the Archer
Tigers, on Dec. 28.