The Dawson County High School varsity Lady Tigers defeated visiting Calhoun 71-54 Tuesday night to advance to the second round of the state playoffs.
According to Head Coach Steve Sweat, the team's press defense allowed the team to jump out to 23-11 lead after one. The team was able to hold on the remainder of the game.
Lady Tigers Haley Burgess led the team in scoring with 19 points, she knocked down five, 3-pointers in the contest.
Burgess was followed in scoring by: Karlie Bearden with 17 points, Kaylee Sticker had 15 points, Erin Chatham and Eliza Sillesky scored 8 points each and Tabitha Morrison contributed 4 points.
The team will play the winner of the Laney versus Central Macon game on either Friday or Saturday. It had not been decided as of press time.
Check back to dawsonnews.com for updates.
In region action last week, the team played a red hot West Hall team on Saturday night for the 7-AAA region championship.
Coach Jerry Richerson's team entered the contest on a nine game winning streak, which improved to 10 following the team's 71-53 win over Dawson County.
The game was the second time West Hall had defeated Dawson County in the last eight days.
On Feb. 5 the Lady Spartans came away with a 69-57 win. The game was the last regular season game.
Dawson County started the game with a double team on defense of West Hall's sophomore guard Anna McKendree.
Richerson answered by placing McKendree at half court and played four on three against the Lady Tigers.
Lady Spartan Avery Prather hit a three-pointer and a jumper to score give West Hall a 5-0 lead to open the game.
McKendree completed the game with 33 points.
She connected on three 3-pointers in the third quarter and was 14 of 17 from the free throw line.
"We tried some different defenses, but West Hall was able to still take an early lead," Sweat said. "The Lady Tigers played hard but could not close the gap."
West Hall jumped out to an early 14-11 lead after one quarter.
The Lady Spartans defense allowed just eight points in the second quarter, which allowed them to take a 28-19 advantage into halftime.
Behind McKendree the Lady Spartans outscored Dawson County in the third quarter, 23-9, and led 51-28 going into the final eight minutes of play.
Bearden led Dawson County in scoring with 22 points.
Bearden was 6 for 6 from the free throw line.
Also scoring in double digits was Sticker with 10 points.
Closing out the scoring were: Burgess-9, Peytan Porter-5, Morrison-4 Sillesky-2 and Chatham-1.
This is the fourth year in a row that Dawson County has qualified for the state tournament.
The Lady Spartans will represent the region as the No. 1 seed and hosted Adairsville (13-16) on Tuesday. Scores were not available as of press time.
It was the first region championship for West Hall since 2002.
In the semi-final game earlier last week, the Lady Tigers easily defeated Banks County by a 64-32 score.
Dawson County was impressive considering the team had to wait a week to play due to inclement weather.
The week of rest didn't seem to bother the Lady Tigers as they took an 18-11 first quarter lead and did not trail the rest of the ballgame.
Dawson County's defense allowed the Lady Leopards just single digits in scoring over the last three quarters to cruise to the 32-point win.
Ten players entered the scoring column for the Lady Tigers, led by Bearden with 14.
Freshman Sticker added 11 points.
Finishing up the scoring were: Sillesky-9, Burgess-6, and Chatham-6. Porter-6, Katelynn Simpson-4, Ansley Costley-3, Abi Chatham-3 and Morrison-2.
"We moved the ball, as five different players scored in the first quarter," Sweat said. "Our presses were working well tonight because everybody was moving together. It is always good to get the postseason started with a win."
Pam Jacobs contributed to this story.