A beaming Thad Burgess left the floor at Chestatee High School on Saturday with a wide grin on his face.
His Tigers basketball team just defeated the War Eagles, 58-39, for the team's ninth win of the season.
"We brought the same energy, concentration and caring for each other at last. So proud of how we went out and played tonight against Chestatee," Burgess said.
The team was bouncing back from a close contest against East Hall the night before in Dawsonville. The Tigers battled all night against a tough club and lost a heartbreaking, 63-57, game.
"I thought our guys were unbelievable, could not have asked anymore of them. They played their guts out. Two of them had not practiced all week because of being sick, but they never came out of the game. The final score did not matter. I'm very proud of how they played and what a great crowd at the Ford E. Phillips Gymnasium," said the veteran coach.
The Tigers dropped a close 68-59 contest on Jan. 12 to visiting West Hall.
Three Dawson County players scored in double digits against the Spartans.
Cullen Reed led the way with 18 points. Reed scored 8 of those points in the fourth quarter trying to lead the Tigers to a comeback. Reed connected on four 3-pointers in the game. He was also 6 for 7 from the free throw line.
Teammates Jeremiah Crumley and Gabe Bryant each had 13 points in the game.
Crumley hit four 3-pointers and sparked the Tigers in the first quarter with 7 points.
Bryant had a huge third quarter with 9 points.
Also entering the scoring column for Dawson County were: Noah Davis with 6 points, Kolton Brumbelow added 4 points, Ryan Gallenkamp with 3 points and Jacob Moore with 2 points.
The Spartans (9-9; 3-4), coached by Zac Swansey, placed four players in double digits, led by Esteban Ulloa with 20 points.
Also scoring in double digits were: Tyquan Statham with 17 points, Bryson Jones with 14 points and Noah Edmundson had 13 points.
Friday's game against East Hall saw the Tigers take an early, 12-10, lead after one quarter behind the play of Bryant with five points.
Coach Joe Dix's team rebounded in the second quarter and outscored Dawson County, 19-12, to take a 29-24 lead into halftime.
Crumley kept Dawson County alive in the quarter hitting three 3-pointers. He hit six 3-pointers in the game.
Both teams played evenly in the third quarter with the Vikings holding a slim, 43-40, lead.
Reed had a huge quarter for the Tigers. He scored 12 of Dawson County's 16 points in the quarter. Reed finished with 15 points.
The Vikings held their lead throughout the fourth quarter to come away with the win.
Tigers Crumley and Bryant accounted for all of Dawson County's points in the quarter with 11 and 6 points respectively.
Bryant finished with 17 points for the contest. Crumley had 20 points in the loss.
Tylor Brown led East Hall in scoring with 21 points.
Rounding out the scoring for Dawson County were: Brumbelow with 3 points, Davis added two points and Coey Watson had one point.
After Friday's grueling game against East Hall the Tigers didn't miss a beat on Saturday against Chestatee.
The Tigers jumped on Chestatee early to take a commanding, 14-3, lead after one quarter behind 9 points from Reed.
Crumley came alive in the second quarter and scored seven points to improve the Tigers lead to, 33-11. Crumley hit three 3-pointers in the contest.
Despite being outscored, 28-25, in the second half by the War Eagles the Tigers came away with the much needed win.
With the win Dawson County is currently 9-10 on the season.
Reed led all scorers with 16 points. He was closely followed by Crumley with 14 points.
Seven other Tigers scored in the game: Davis-8, Bryant-7, Cronin-5, Ryan Gallenkamp-3, Brumbelow-2, Moore-2, and Corey Hammond-2.
Dawson County will host Banks County Friday night.
The Leopards are currently in first place in Region 7-AAA with a perfect 7-0 record. Overall Coach Mike Cleveland's team is 17-2.
Earlier this season the Tigers lost a 55-38 contest in Homer.
On Tuesday, Dawson County will travel to Carnesville for a region rematch with Franklin County.
Dawson County lost to the Lions, 42-28, in a low scoring affair earlier this month.
Coach Jason Shaver's team comes into the contest with a 3-4 region record and an overall record of 6-13.
Friday's game will begin at 8:30 p.m., while Tuesday's game will begin a 7:30 p.m.