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Tigers reach new heights with 96-73 victory over Lumpkin Indians
45 points from Jake Craft anchors huge offensive win for Dawson County
Jake Craft shoots over two Lumpkin County defenders during the 96-73 victory on Tuesday, Jan. 19. Craft scored a career-high 45 points during the game. - photo by Corinne Thompson


Patrons of Tuesday night’s Dawson County Tigers basketball game were in for a treat as they watched both teams combine for a total of 29 three-pointers during the 96-73 victory against the Lumpkin County Indians. 

On a night full of offense, multiple Tigers had career nights. 

Joakeim Celestin watches the basketball travel to the hoop for three of his 25 points during the 96-73 victory on Tuesday, Jan. 19. - photo by Corinne Thompson
Jake Craft never slowed down all night and led the Tigers with 45 points, which Craft confirmed after the game was a high school career-high. 

“Every time I shot tonight it just felt good,” Craft said after the game. “Shooting is all about confidence and my teammates give me the confidence to just keep shooting.”

Jaden Gibson also set a career-high with 17 assists in the game, only three shy of tying the all-time Dawson County High School record. By the end of the first half, Gibson had 12 of his 17 assists already. 

“I had an idea it was happening, but we just stayed in the flow of the game,” Gibson said after the game when asked about his assists. “I got Jake the ball and he made the shots.”

But Craft wasn’t the only one to light up the scoreboard during Tuesday’s victory. Joakeim Celestin scored 25 points with a huge 17-point first quarter. Celestin added seven rebounds and six assists to round out a great night. Max Tierny was an offensive weapon in the paint, scoring 16 points and adding a team high 15 rebounds to collect a double-double. 

“To come from where we were on Friday night’s loss to White County is like day and night,” Tigers head coach Todd Cottrell said after the game. “We were sharing the ball, we were taking smart shots and we were being aggressive all night.”

The Tigers (14-6, 6-2 in region 7-3A) converted 45 of their 96 points from behind the three points arc, with Craft, Celestin, Tierny and Ty Whitmire all contributing. The Indians (7-9, 2-5 in region 7-3A) caught fire on offense several times throughout the game, making 14 three-pointers throughout the game as well. 

The Tigers are now 11-2 in their last 13 games and will carry a three game win-streak into Saturday’s non-region game against Pickens High School (8-8) at home. The Tigers won 65-45 in their first matchup against Pickens High this season. The game starts at 2:30 p.m.


Unable to slow down the Lumpkin County Lady Indians on offense, the Lady Tigers lost 68-33 on Tuesday night. 

The Lady Tigers (8-8, 1-6 in region 7-3A) struggled to get the ball into the basket at times tonight, scoring only four points in the second quarter and six points in the fourth. 

“We have to play really really good to beat that team.” Lady Tigers head coach Eric Herrick said after the game. “The margin for error is extremely low when you’re playing a team that shoots the basketball that well so we needed to make open looks early.”

Maddie Anglin led the offense with 15 points scored and three assists in the game. Abby Samples-Slaton contributed well off the bench for the Lady Tigers with eight points. 

The Lady Tigers are in fifth place in region 7-3A with five region games left to play. Their region record will determine their seed in the region tournament being played the first week of February. 

“We’re very confident about this stretch run right here,” Herrick said. “We haven’t lost hope. We still think we’re a state playoff team and that’s our end goal.”

Their final two non-region games of the season will finish this week. They battle Alpharetta High School on Thursday, Jan. 21 at 6 p.m. and Pickens High School on Saturday, Jan. 23 at 1 p.m. Both games will be at Ford Phillips Center.

Abby Samples-Slaton battles a Lumpkin County defender during the 68-33 loss on Tuesday, Jan. 19. - photo by Corinne Thompson