The junior varsity basketball teams at Dawson County High School both played their way into the championship game of the first annual Tiger Invitational over the last two weekends.
The girls' team was able to get a win over Lumpkin County and finish in first place while the boys were runners up against Gilmer on Jan. 28 at DCHS.
This was the second straight year that the Lady Tigers won the junior varsity tournament although it was the first year to be held at DCHS.
The Lady Tigers won convincingly with a 55-33 final and freshman Marlie Townley scored 33 of the 55 points for Dawson.
"She was difficult for Lumpkin to contain because she was so strong taking the ball to the hoop," said Coach Anne Hyams.
Townley put 11 of the team's 15 points on the board in the first quarter alone. She was three of six from the line in the opening period.
She scored early on a pass from Chloe Bennett to Avery Young who fed Townley down low for 2 points.
Late in the first period she had another down low and a turnaround jumper for two.
The Lady Indians tied the game in the second period at 19 before Townley and Maggie Schandera picked up buckets underneath.
Rachel Swafford hit two at the line after a drive and foul she was slow to get up from.
Just before half, Townley went around and under a defender for another two before picking up a rebound on the opposite end.
Dawson held a 27-19 lead at half scoring 8 unanswered points.
The Lady Tigers outscored Lumpkin 13-9 in the third period and then dominated in the fourth.
Kenedy Moledor went to the line for three shots and knocked down one before Townley would drive for another two.
Dawson had 15 points to Lumpkin's 5 in the final quarter on their way to securing the championship.
The Lady Tigers defeated White County and Lanier in the first two rounds of the tournament to reach the championship game.
"I am very pleased with the girls throughout the entire tournament because they all played hard and gave their best effort on the court," Hyams said. "They have been a pleasure to coach because they have great attitudes, a tremendous work ethic and a strong, competitive spirit."
The win moves the team to 12-4 overall and they will play their final game at 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 3 against Union County at DCHS.
On the boys' side Dawson County faced Gilmer and lost 54-40.
The team was coming off of a rivalry win at Lumpkin and two tournament wins over Chestatee and White County.
"Obviously, I am disappointed with the result in the championship game of the tournament," said Coach Michael Parker. "My guys were playing a much better brand of basketball over the last few weeks and we, collectively, had a rough go on Saturday."
Parker said that the team struggled with the 2-2-1 three-quarter zone that dropped to a 2-3 zone.
"When teams play zone, it's crucial that you value each possession, take good shots and hopefully shoot a high percentage," he said. "For most of the game, we just couldn't buy a shot."
The Tigers got on the board first after an Eric Pope rebound and put back for 2 points and a Chase Walls 3-pointer.
The teams were tied at 9 after the first period but in the second Dawson would put up 5 points while Gilmer would add 19.
Gilmer picked up one at the line after a Dawson County technical foul for six players on the court.
Gilmer also scored on a couple of steals and fast breaks to open up the 15-point halftime lead.
In the third, the Tigers were able to add 13, but Gilmer continued to pull away and headed to the final period, up 40-27.
"As we continued missing shots, Gilmer's lead expanded which put more pressure on us to make shots. It was kind of snowball effect," Parker said.
The tournament marks the end of the season for the JV boys.
"As far as the season goes as a whole, I couldn't be more proud of this group of guys. I told them after the game that in my 13 years of coaching, this group improved, from the first game to the last game, more than any group I've coached."
The team started at 2-7 and ended 5-8 overall.