The Dawson County Lady Tigers had a successful stint in the Commerce Christmas Classic tournament last week when the team took second place in the event with victories over Stephens County and Madison County before their loss in the championship game to Johns Creek.
"We won two out of three games against some pretty good competition," said Head Coach Steve Sweat.
Dawson opened tournament play on Dec. 27, and according to Sweat, got off to a slow start but picked it up during the second half.
The two teams went to half tied at 18 points.
Coming out of the half, Abi Chatham went to work on her highest scoring outing to date.
Chatham scored 20 of her 23 points on the day in the second half of play to help lift the Lady Tigers to a 45-34 victory.
Cadey Ayers and Kaylee Sticker both contributed 7 points in the contest.
"We started off slow, but picked it up in the end for the win," Sweat said.
Calli Watson and Kati Brady both scored 3 points and Anna Lowe added 2.
The Lady Tigers advanced in the winner's portion of the bracket to take on Madison County on Dec. 28 when they picked up their second win.
Dawson won 56-49 over the Red Raiders behind the 3-point shooting of Watson who put in seven of them against Madision County.
Watson finished with 23 points.
"The second game, we started off great, let them close the gap in the third quarter, made a run of our own in the fourth quarter for the win," Sweat said.
Sticker added 14 in the second round victory and Emma brown and Anna Lowe each had 6.
The Lady Tigers had a 39-22 lead going into the half and although they were outscored in the final two periods, they were able to hold on to advance to the championship game on Dec. 29.
Dawson County faced Johns Creek in the final game of the tourney. They lost 57-51.
Coming into the matchup the Gladiators were 9-5 and 4-2 in Region 7AAAAAA.
"I was really pleased with the effort down the stretch," Sweat said. "I believe that shows we are improving. We got behind by eight and then took the lead. Three weeks ago we would have lost the game by 20 points."
The Lady Tigers started their scoring on a pass from Brown to Sticker underneath for 2 points.
Brown picked up the rebound on the opposite end before Lowe would hit for two near the free throw line.
Dawson kept up the pace early with quick passes from Brown to Sticker and back to Lowe again for another basket down low.
Lowe had 12 points on the night and two massive blocks.
Watson added a 3-pointer in the first quarter and the Lady Tigers led 15-7.
In the second, Kati Brady hit Sticker cutting across the lane on a quick pass to add two more.
Both of Lowe's blocks came in the second as well as a big rebound. She drew the foul going back up and put two in from the line.
The Gladiators fought back in the second period, scoring 21 points to Dawson's 10 to go to half with a 3-point lead at 28-25.
There was significant confusion just before half following a foul call on Dawson while a Gladiator was shooting a three. The ref awarded the 3-pointer as well as two shots from the line.
The Lady Tigers proved their growth on the court as they continued to battle through the second half.
Sticker and Lowe caused a turnover in the third that gave Chatham the ball and ended with her putting in two from the line.
On the next offensive possession, Chatham drained a three to cut the lead to 1 point.
Brady connected with Watson for another two and Cadey Ayers picked up a crucial rebound.
The Gladiators put in 18 in the third period including a three at the buzzer to take a 46-40 lead into the final period.
The teams traded turn overs on the following possessions before Lowe picked up a rebound and Watson put in another three.
Watson had 10 points in the championship game and was named to the all-tournament team.
After a time out with 4:36 to play and a five-point Johns Creek lead, Sticker hit two threes and cut the lead again to one after a Gladiator score.
Sticker led all scorers with 14 points.
The Lady Tigers took the lead again with 2:58 to play and Brown and Sticker both picked up steals before the Gladiators 3-pointer gave them a 53-51 lead with under a minute left.
Dawson was forced to foul with time running out and could not get back on top. The varsity girls are now 5-10 overall and 2-1 in Region 7-AAA.
The Lady Tigers played North Hall on Jan. 3, but results were not available as of press time. The team will play at 7 p.m. on Jan. 6 at East Hall.