A busy summer of basketball came to an end last week when the Dawson County High School Tigers finished playing in a Fellowship of Christian Athletes team camp at Fellowship Christian High School in Roswell.
A very tired Thad Burgess, head boys basketball coach, was pleased with the effort and hard work his team put in this summer.
The Tigers will have to replace four starters from last year's team and they also lost their remaining starter, point guard Tyler Dominy, to injury early in the summer.
"This has been a challenge," Burgess said. "Basically the only player that had any minutes from last season, Will Anglin, had to play almost every minute of each game during the summer.
"I think the loss of Tyler allowed me to see some of our younger players perform."
Burgess added: "We have had the unexpected ups and downs. We still have a bunch of questions that will need to be answered before we open up with North Forsyth in November."
Burgess said his team's effort has been good, but the team still has a lot to work on.
"I was very pleased with our effort, but still have concerns about handling pressure and finding some type of offense that will fit our personnel," Burgess said.
The Tigers tried several offensive sets during the summer, but have yet to settle on one style. Dawson will still rely on the three-point shot as their first look, but in half court sets they are still trying to find something that is comfortable and fits their personnel, according to Burgess.
The Tigers have played 27 games in addition to 13 practices since school ended.
Now that the summer games have finished the Tiger players enter an important phase of their development as basketball players. In order for each player to improve they must get in a gym to work on fundamentals like dribbling and shooting if they are to get better, according to Burgess.
"There will be a lot of competition for positions on the team. The ones that spend the time will be rewarded next year with playing time," he said.
The Tiger head coach also praised his assistant coach, Wes Greer.
"Coach Greer has put in a great deal of time with both our varsity and junior varsity players. He does a great job teaching the game. An added addition this summer was having a past player, Robert O'Quinn, to work with us as he has been home for the summer. He has been demonstrating the pride that our former players take in their program," Burgess said.
"We have great kids that all like each other. I have been real tough on them to make them realize how important it is to compete. It's different than playing JV or being in a region game. Our previous groups have taken great pride in our basketball program, so I think it is important these younger players know what it is going to take," he added.
Replacing last year's seniors had been a point of emphasis for Burgess and his staff.
"I believe this group will make sure we don't lose a beat after losing the outstanding group of seniors that have graduated from last year. They know what is expected and I know they will take great pride in making our season special next year," Burgess said.
Even though games are complete for the summer, the Tigers will continue to lift weights beginning next week.
The team will also have open gym for anyone that would like to play until school begins.