It was just the gift Head Coach Thad Burgess wanted before Christmas. His Tiger basketball team finished 2008 with two wins over quality teams.
Friday’s win was especially nice as Dawson defeated their first Region 8-AA opponent of the year, North Oconee, 46-41. The team followed that win with a victory over Sonoraville on Saturday, 54-45.
“It leaves a good taste in our mouths before the Christmas break,” said Burgess. “We can take a couple of days off and get ready for a tough region schedule in January and February.”
The Tigers now have an impressive 6-3 overall record and, more importantly, are 1-0 in the region.
North Oconee traveled to the Ford E. Phillips gymnasium on Friday to face the tough Tigers. It was a tough game, as both teams battled defensively.
The score at halftime was 19-16 in favor of the Tigers, but in the second half things started to break open.
Blythe Chester had a great game for Dawson. The senior post player scored 13 points and pulled down 8 rebounds in the win.
Senior Seth Stowers also had a big game for the Tigers. Stowers contributed 6-points and was the backbone of the Tiger defense.
“Both Blythe and Seth played big roles in the game tonight. Seth hit a big three-point shot in the third quarter. Blythe had some huge rebounds,” Burgess said of his two seniors.
Both teams played evenly in the third quarter, scoring 15 points each. Dawson still maintained a 3-point lead, 34-31.
Dawson’s lock-down 3-2 zone kept North Oconee off balance the entire game and the Tigers held on to come away with the 46-41 win.
“We didn’t play great, but we found a way to win. The second quarter was tough for us shooting the ball. Our kids tend to shoot better in a running game, but we got some easy baskets late to get the win,” said Burgess.
“Our press is not where I like it to be at this point in the season. The scores are low because of our half court defense. We would rather run,” Burgess added.
The versatile Jacob Evans played well against the Titans. Evans connected on two 3-point shots. He scored 8 points for the game and pulled down 8 rebounds.
“Jacob has been a pleasant surprise,” said Burgess. “He leads our team in scoring and rebounding. I knew he could do it, but not this soon in his career.”
Jessie Webb led North Oconee with 11 points.
Tiger scorers: Chester-13, Stephen Scaife-8; Evans-8; Stowers-6; Ben Daniels-7; Shelby Sanford-2; Ryan Morawsky-2.
The Tigers hit the road for a game against second year school Sonoraville on Saturday.
It was a struggle, once again, for the Dawson offense in the first half. The Tigers trailed the Phoenix by 3-points at intermission, 26-23.
Burgess got his team fired up at halftime, which was cut short by the clock operator.
The Tigers were relentless, holding Sonoraville to only 4 points in the third quarter. Dawson answered with 18 points to hold a commanding 41-30 lead at the end of three periods.
Sophomore Kaleb Holbrook played some very important minutes for Burgess and the Tigers.
Holbrook came on to replace Scaife who picked up his third foul late in the second quarter.
“Kaleb was a key. He came up big for us tonight. He had to play the entire third quarter and did a great job,” said Burgess.
Sonoraville didn’t quit in the fourth quarter. The team came at the Tigers hard and strong, but just didn’t have enough left. Dawson held on to take the 54-45 victory.
Chester led the scoring for Dawson County with 10 points. Jacob Evans had another big game with 9 points and 10 rebounds. Evans has had double digit rebounds in four of the last five games.
“Our bench really had to step to the plate tonight. We had five guys with two fouls in the first half and those other players did a great job. We tried to stall in the second quarter just to keep the game close before halftime. I was disappointed in our intensity and that let them (Sonoraville) stay in the game,” remarked Burgess.
“We break the season into thirds. The part before Christmas, the part until the end of the season and the playoffs. I am really pleased with how we have been playing. We have been in every game and our losses have been close. The two wins this weekend will build our confidence entering the new-year,” he added.
The team will take a few days off before beginning practice again.
Dawson’s next game will be Tuesday, Jan. 6 at Oglethorpe County.
E-mail Pam Jacobs at firstname.lastname@example.org.