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Tigers rebound from early season loss
S-Boys basketball pic 2.JPG
Sophomore Mason Barnes rolls in a lay-up in a game against Clarke Central on Dec. 1. - photo by Bob Christian

Looking to put their loss in the final round of the Tip-off Classic behind them, the Dawson County High School Tigers varsity basketball team traveled to Flowery Branch High School Nov. 29 take on the Falcons in a rematch of their season opener.

Led by junior Jasper Gibson’s 28 points (along with the 1,000th  point of his career) on the night the Tigers took control of the game from the opening buzzer and took home their third victory of the season with a 79–47 drubbing of Flowery Branch.

Gibson found immediate success from the outside as he went four of four from the 3-point line during the first period and gathered 28 points overall on the night to lead the Tigers in scoring. Luke Chism, Tate Adkins and Eli Burruss also added points in the first as Dawson County led the Falcons 23–9 after the opening eight minutes.

The Falcons responded well in the second as they penetrated the Tigers’ defense and put 17 points on the board, but they could not find an answer for Gibson or Chism and Dawson County was able to keep the pace with 16 second period points of their own to maintain a 39–26 lead into halftime.

It was just prior to halftime, in one of his only two free throws of the game, that Gibson notched his milestone 1,000th point to the delight of both teammates and fans.

“I knew it was out there,” Gibson said. “I tried not to think about it too much during the game. I just wanted to let it happen.”

Head Coach Chad Pittman said the milestone speaks to Gibson’s dedication to the sport.

“It’s an impressive milestone, and it’s about a lot of hard work that he’s put in,” Pittman said. “You don’t do that just by showing up.”

Chism set the tone for the second half, opening the third period by stealing the inbound pass and taking it to the house with a glass-rattling slam dunk. Sophomore Mason Barnes took over the outside shooting work in the third period as he was able to add two more 3-pointers to put extend the Tigers lead by double digits for the final period.

Flowery Branch was obviously out of gas as the fourth period opened and the Tigers were quick to take advantage and put the game completely out of reach as sophomore Max Tierney joined Barnes, Chism and Gibson in scoring during the final set to win with a score of 79 – 47.

The Tigers took the court again during the North Georgia High School Showcase on the Dahlonega campus of the University of North Georgia Dec. 1 for their first-ever matchup against the Clarke Central Gladiators out of Athens.

Both teams opened the first period running the basketball the length of the court in a fast-break style of play that made for a lot of shots but didn’t give either team a distinct advantage.

 Over the course of the period the inside play on both ends of the court from Burruss and senior Ahmad Kamara proved to be the edge, and the Tigers out-paced the Gladiators 13–5.

The Dawson County offense opened up as Chism created room underneath the basket in the second period and put up the first of his 19 points on the day while Burruss moved to the outside and twice found the net from 3-point territory.

Clarke Central fought back, forcing a string of turnovers that allowed them to close the gap with an 8–0 run late in the second, but the Tigers took a double-digit lead into halftime

Chism continued to drive the lane, finding the basket for another 8 points, and cleared defenders from the outside to allow Burrus and Gibson both to put in long buckets. Any momentum that the Tigers could establish was interrupted by the foul-heavy defense mounted by the Gladiators as they sent the Tigers to the line a remarkable 29 times during the game.

The Tigers relied on the free throw in the fourth period, scoring 9 of their 20 points from the line and Gibson, who led the team in scoring with 29 points, was 13 of 16 from the top of the key. As the final buzzer sounded Dawson County moved to 4–1 on the season with a 77–46 victory over the Clarke Central Gladiators.