By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support local journalism.
Lady Tigers Secure eighth consecutive state playoff berth
Lady Tigers
Dawson County senior Sophia D’Oliveira drives a shot over the outstretched arms of a Fannin County defender on Feb. 10 during the consolation game of the Region 7-AAA tournament. - photo by Bob Christian

After a tumultuous three-day tournament, the Lady Tigers have punched their ticket to the Georgia High School Association’s State Playoffs for the eighth consecutive season under Head Coach Steve Sweat.

After falling short of the Fannin County Lady Rebels in the consolation match of the Region 7-AAA tournament played at East Hall HIgh School on Feb. 10 by a final score of 54-42, Dawson County enters the post-season as the Region 7, No. 4 seed.

In a game that at times, more resembled a hockey game than a basketball game, the Lady Tigers found themselves behind in the opening minutes as the Lady Rebels used an aggressive, physical attack to take control of the game early.

Down 31-22 at halftime, Dawson County outscored Fannin County in the third period to narrow the gap to six heading into the final period. Despite matching the Lady Rebels point-for-point in the first minutes of the fourth, the Lady Tigers found themselves on the wrong side of the scoreboard when the final buzzer sounded.

“We got off to a slow start tonight against Fannin County and found ourselves down 19-7 at the end of the first quarter,” Sweat said. “The girls kept battling, but we could not get any closer than four points for the rest of the game.”

Senior Marlie Townley led the Lady Tigers with another double-double performance, her second of the tournament, scoring a team high of 19 points and snagging 15 rebounds along with an astounding 10 blocked shots in the contest.

After the presentation of the tournament trophies, Townley, and fellow senior Sophia D’Oliveira were named to the Region 7-AAA All-Region team.

Dawson County’s post-season journey began on Feb. 5 in the first round of the tournament played on the courts of North Hall High School. In that game, the Lady Tigers found themselves in a re-match with

the East Hall Lady Vikings who had handed them a loss in the final game of the regular season only a few days earlier.

Sporting an overall record of 14-11 and a regional record of 6-6, the Lady Tigers entered the tournament needing a win. Victory would not only advance the team into the second round of the regional bout, but would also secure entry into the GHSA playoffs.

Knowing her team desperately needed the win, Townley took the game on her shoulders from the opening tip-off. Seemingly everywhere on the court at the same time, she kept the Lady Tigers neck-in-neck with a determined Lady Vikings squad who also needed a win to advance deeper into the post-season.

Tied at halftime and down by three at the end of the third period, Townley mustered her best quarter of the season and almost willed the Lady Tigers to victory with a dominating defensive presence under the net.

“I began to realize that this could be my final game as a Lady Tiger,” Townley said. “And I didn’t want it to be.”

Townley’s 16-points in the second half, and 22-points overall inspired Dawson County to rally from behind and outscore the Lady Vikings 18-9 in the final eight minutes of play to secure a come from behind first-round victory by the final score of 52-46.

“Great job by the Lady Tigers in the first round of the 7-AAA Region tournament, getting revenge for the loss to East Hall last week,” Sweat said. “I am very pleased with the way we finished out the game tonight. The girls executed our defensive game plan to a tee.”

The second round of the tournament saw the Lady Tigers take on a red-hot North Hall Lady Trojans team. Demonstrating the long-distance accuracy that they had honed all season; the Lady Trojans opened a daunting 25-point lead by halftime and went on to claim victory by a final score of 72-51, pushing Dawson County into the consolation game.

North Hall went on to defeat the Greater Atlanta Christian Lady Spartans in a wild championship game on Feb. 10 to claim the regional title for the 2019-2020 season.

“From here on out, everybody has to do their job,” Sweat said. “Every team we play will be good or they wouldn’t be here.”

The Lady Tigers will tip-off against the Region 5, No. 1 seed Cedar Grove Lady Saints in the opening round of the GHSA tournament in the first round of action that begins over Valentine’s Day weekend.