The Dawson County Tigers hosted the first round of the GHSA state tournament on Feb. 16 with a game against the Region 6-AAA Ringgold Tigers, and after a first half in which both teams struggled to find rhythm, Dawson County “upped the tempo” in the second half and stormed their way into the Sweet Sixteen with a 58-27 victory.
Dawson County junior Eli Burrus started the scoring on the first play of the game and the teams traded buckets to keep the score close in the opening minutes until Dawson County engineered a series of turnovers to take an 8-point lead into the second quarter.
Senior Luke Chism provided the crowd an early cheering opportunity as he added another historic moment to an already epic season by crossing 2,000 points in his career with a hard-driving layup on his first shot of the game.
Ringgold slowed the game dramatically in the second quarter as they moved into an outside passing rotation and attempted to establish themselves at distance. Neither team had much luck finding the net until Dawson County junior Jasper Gibson closed the set with a pair of 3-pointers to lead the hometown Tigers into the locker room with a 30-20 lead.
In a nightmarish eight minutes for the Ringgold Tigers, the third quarter turned into an offensive display by Dawson County. Gibson continued to find success from the arc, while the rest of the team, led by Chism, slashed their way into lane for points as the Tigers shut out their opponents 27-0 in the third period.
Junior Bryson Broadway accounted for the Tigers' 1-point in the fourth period as Dawson County moved into a possession-focused offense to close out the game with a final score of 58-27.
Gibson led all scorers with 19 points and Chism backed that up with 11 points and six assists.
With the win Dawson County advances to the Sweet Sixteen round of the tournament and will host a second-round game against either Westminster or Jefferson High School at 6 p.m Feb. 21.