The Dawson County girls’ varsity basketball team traveled to North Forsyth High School on Nov. 23 to participate in the annual Raiders Thanksgiving Classic. Sporting a 1-2 record, the team was looking to build momentum after a rocky start to the 2019-20 season.
The Lady Tigers came into the tournament looking to bounce back from a tough 55-40 loss on Nov. 19 to the Flowery Branch Falcons. Despite 13 points from senior Sophia D’Oliveira, the team struggled on both sides of the ball according to Head Coach Steve Sweat.
“Give Flowery Branch credit, they took advantage of our mistakes,” Sweat said. “When you don't play good defense or offense it is hard to win a game. It is especially hard against the people we play.”
Opening the tournament against the Madison County Red Raiders it appeared that the offensive difficulties had all but disappeared as the Lady Tigers racked up 17 first period points. Defense was a different story as the Red Raiders sank 19 points to take the early lead.
The second period played out much the same, as Madison County added 12 to their total versus 11 for Dawson County bringing the halftime score to 31-28 in favor of the Lady Raiders.
Senior Marlie Townley came to life in the second half as she led the Tigers on a 20-9 scoring run in the third period to give the Lady Tigers the lead.
Townley continued to push the Red Raiders over the final eight minutes, driving the lane for another 6 points and putting the cap on a Dawson County 69-55 victory.
Four Lady Tigers posted double digits to the scoreboard, with Townley landing all 12 of her points in the second half. D’Oliveira tied with junior Maddie Anglin for the team lead with 15 points, while junior Mariah Benson dominated the boards for another 14.
It was close the whole first half and the Lady Tigers found themselves behind,” Sweat said. “We got going in the third quarter and outscored them 20-9.”
Riding their momentum into game two on Nov. 25, Dawson County faced-off against the Cherokee Lady Warriors and found themselves completely shut-down by an aggressive, in-your-face defense.
The Lady Tigers were unable to establish an outside shooting game throughout the evening and were held to a meager 11 points in the first half.
Dawson County continued to struggle in the second half, putting up most of their points from the free throw line, and were quickly overwhelmed by the Warriors by a final score of 61-26
“We had eight people score but they were all in the single digits,” Sweat said. “The aggressive defense was part of it, but there are things you can do against an aggressive team. I mean, they’re good but you can’t just stop playing offense.”
The loss moved the Lady Tigers to an overall record of 2-3 and placed them in the consolation game of the Thanksgiving Classic against Brookwood on Nov. 26. Results were unavailable as of press time.