The reigning AAA state champs Laney Wildcats eliminated the Dawson County Lady Tigers for the second year in a row in the state playoffs by a score of 64-45.
Dawson traveled to Augusta for the sweet sixteen round of the tournament after a win against the Calhoun Lady Yellowjackets Feb. 16.
The Lady Wildcats jumped out to a 20-5 lead in the first quarter and the Lady Tigers had to play catch up the rest of the night.
"We have to play every quarter," said Head Coach Steve Sweat, "especially against a team as good as Laney."
The Lady Tigers were able to settle down but it was not enough.
"I was proud of the girls for continuing to battle even though we were behind and playing at Laney," Sweat said.
"I am very proud of this group of seniors. They have been to the state tournament for all four years and have helped win 100 games," Sweat said about the talented graduating group.
Senior Karlie Bearden finished the night with 22 points. Haley Burgess scored 8, Kaylee Sticker-7, Calli Watson and Peytan Porter-3, Tabitha Morrison-2.
During last week's matchup with Calhoun, Dawson County started high speed and set the tone early with a quick pass to senior Eliza Sillesky under the basket for a score right off the tip. The Lady Tigers won by a score of 71-54.
Senior guard Haley Burgess drained three 3's in the first quarter. The Lady Tigers hit a total of five 3-pointers early with one from freshman Kaylee Sticker on her way to 15 points for the game and senior Karlie Bearden also added one. At the end of the first the Tigers were up 23-11.
The Lady Tigers were perfect from the free throw line.
Heading into the second quarter it looked as though Burgess could not miss as she hit another 3-pointer. Calhoun's Cassie Henderson hit a 3 at the 6:40 mark trying to spark some offense for the Yellowjackets, but the Lady Tigers had a quick score underneath by Tabitha Morrison on a pass from Burgess.
The Yellowjackets quietly began to close the gap through the second. Calhoun's rebounding helped them narrow the lead to 7, but an Erin Chatham three put Dawson up 37-29 going into the half.
The start of the second half saw Dawson cross court passes stolen on back-to-back possessions. Calhoun's Ryan Brzozoski hit a 3 with four minutes in the third and Calhoun's junior guard Jana Johns had a spin move underneath to score followed by a short jumper on the next possession to cut Dawson's lead to 8. At the end of the third, Sticker was fouled hard and made both free throws.
Sticker was hit but called for a travel to loud protests from fans at the beginning of the fourth.
Sticker's play was not deterred as she hit two 3s and had 8 points in the quarter.
With a 16-point lead and two minutes left, the crowd acknowledged the efforts of the Lady Tigers.
A late foul on Chatham put her on the line with 10 seconds left in the game. She hit both.
Haley Burgess finished the game with 19, Karlie Barden-17, Kaylee Sticker-15, Eliza Sillesky-8, Erin Chatham-8, Tabitha Morrison-4.
The Lady Tigers ended their season with a 24-5 overall record.