Looking to make their third trip in as many years to the state playoffs under Head Coach Chad Pittman, the Dawson County Tigers basketball team began practicing in late October. Having graduated four starters last year (two of whom having scored more than 1,000 points in their careers) Coach Pittman acknowledged the challenges ahead.
“Depending on how team chemistry and injury goes we would love to get at least one step further than last year as we continue to build the program here at Dawson and hopefully make it a consistent playoff team,” Pittman said.
As the team’s only returning starter this year, junior Campbell Reed (who was third in scoring last season) is expected to take on more of a leadership role and will rely heavily on incoming transfer student Jasper Gibson, who led Jefferson in scoring from the point guard position last year.
Also expected to make an immediate impact is transfer student Luke Chism, coming to Dawson County High School from the recently closed Dawson Christian Academy.
“[Chism} is an athletic wing with versatility,” Pittman said. “He will help us on both ends of the floor defensively and offensively to create matchup problems. Otherwise, we need guys with less experience who are capable to step up and contribute.”
The team will be looking to improve on last year’s second place regional finish and state Sweet Sixteen appearance as the season is scheduled to begin on the road against Flowery Branch on Nov. 20 with tip-off scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Led by returning senior and Clemson recruit Kaylee Sticker, the Dawson County Lady Tigers basketball team also began practicing for the upcoming season over the last two weeks of October.
Having lost five players to graduation last year, Head Coach Steve Sweat talked about the challenges of playing in one of the “better regions in the state.”
“We will see the effects of that loss early in the season,” Sweat said. “All five didn’t start, but all five played for four years and that represents a lot of experience.”
Despite the loss of experience Sweat was firm in his expectations for the season.
“Goal number one is to get to state, goal number two is to win state,” Sweat said. “We will need the girls to play ‘up’ – beyond their grade level, fill their role and do their part.”
With only two starters returning for the season in Sticker and fellow senior Anna Lowe, Coach Sweat seemed unfazed about the doubt in his starting line-up.
“I’ll know that at the start of the game,” Sweat said. “More so as the season progress.”
The Lady Tigers get their season underway against the Falcons of Flowery Branch at in a 6 p.m. matchup on Nov. 20.