The Tigers dropped an important Region 8A-AA game to Riverside Military Academy Monday night at the Ford E. Phillips gymnasium by a score of 52-41.
The Eagles from Gainesville have a strong hold on first place in the sub-region, while Dawson dropped to third. Riverside won the Region 8-AA championship last season.
The Tigers currently stand at 16-6 overall and 6-5 in region play. Riverside moved to 10-2 and 8-1.
The first half was a defensive struggle, with Dawson holding a slim 9-7 lead after one period of play. Riverside’s Dylan Setzekorn came alive offensively in the second quarter and scored 10 points. Setzekorn, a Division I recruit, finished the game with a team-high 18 points.
The Tigers managed the offensive outburst by posting 10-points of their own to tie the game at 19-19 at halftime.
Tarvin Dukes and Richard Tribble were able to get on track in the second half to score 13 and 11 points respectively to forge ahead 35-28 at the end of three periods. Riverside capitalized on their size in the paint and dominated the boards.
Dawson’s Stephen Scaife attempted to keep his team in the game scoring 10 of his team-high 18 points in the fourth quarter. It wasn’t enough, as Riverside sealed the win at the free throw line late.
“I felt good that we stayed in the game against a very good team,” Head Coach Thad Burgess said. “We stayed close until Tribble decided to take over the game. Our key was to stop him and we did OK until late.”
He added: “Defensively we did good holding them to only 19 points at the half. Tribble was just the difference in the game. We missed lay-ups early in the game, but we just couldn’t stop them on the boards.”
Also scoring for the Tigers were: Stephen Johnson-8, Tyler Dominy-7, Jacob Evans-5 and Levi Wilson-3.
The Tigers have a difficult road ahead with games at Union and Fannin before returning home to play Rabun County. All three are region games.