The up-and-down nature of the 2019-20 basketball season continued for the Lady Tigers during a week that saw the team take on three opponents in a five-day span.
The team started the week playing host to the Fannin County Lady Rebels on Dec. 3 in the region 3-AAA season opener. Dawson County then took to the road on Dec. 5 for a tough battle with the Lady Spartans of GAC. Finally, the squad wrapped up the week back at home with an early afternoon contest on Dec. 7 versus the Flowery Branch Lady Falcons.
Following on the heels of the team’s third place finish in the North Forsyth Classic, the Lady Tigers carried their momentum into the first period of the game against the Lady Rebels. On the strength of senior Sophia D’Oliveira’s free-throw shooting, Dawson County gained the early lead as they outscored Fannin County 16-8 in the first period.
The Rebels flipped the tables in the second and third period, pushing an aggressive offense that narrowed the gap to three points heading into half-time and taking the lead outright moving into the final period of the game.
The teams ran neck-in-neck through the final eight minutes and the difference, once again, came down to the free-throw line. Senior Marlie Townley took advantage of the attacking nature of the Lady Rebels defense and put together a pair of three-point plays that put Dawson County back on top in the final minutes and the team held on for their first regional win by a final score of 54-49.
“It was a close game most of the night,” Head Coach Steve Sweat said. “We were fortunate to come out with our first region win over a scrappy Fannin County team.”
Riding a two-game winning streak, the Lady Tigers headed to Norcross mid-week for another regional game against Greater Atlanta Christian. For the second game in a row, Dawson County roared out to an early lead, outscoring the Lady Spartans 15-6 in the opening minutes.
An impressive shooting display from junior Maddie Anglin, who sank three 3-pointers in the second period and seven long balls overall, kept the Lady Tigers in the lead at half-time, but momentum had clearly shifted in favor of the Lady Spartans.
A disastrous third period in which Dawson County only managed two points gave the lead to GAC heading into the final period. Despite another trio of three-pointers from Anglin, the Lady Spartans remained in front at the final buzzer and handed the Lady Tigers their first regional loss by a score of 55-47.
“We played a good first half and a not so good second half,” Sweat said. “You’re not going to win many games scoring only two points in eight minutes.”
Looking to bounce back from the loss at GAC, the Lady Tigers returned home for a rematch with Flowery Branch to wrap up a long week of basketball. Having lost a close match with the Lady Falcons earlier in the season Dawson County came out strong in the opening period of play, running the floor point-for-point with their opponent.
Anglin continued to show the hot hand to give the Lady Tigers an early lead, but the Lady Falcons held their own and the first period ended in a tie at 16 points apiece.
Dawson County fell behind in the second period as Flowery Branch took advantage of a series of turnovers to build a seven-point lead at half-time.
The teams matched up well again in the third period, and the difference was eight points in favor of the Lady Falcons as the whistle blew to begin the fourth.
Anglin continued to lead the way in the final minutes, but it was freshman Kirklynn Porter’s steady hand at the free-throw line, where she went 6-of-6, that gave the Lady Tigers the advantage in the end. Combined with a resurgent defensive effort from Townley and junior Mariah Benson, Dawson County rallied for a 23-point spree in the final stanza to overtake Flowery Branch and grab the win by a final score of 60-55.
“We were able to get a comeback win over a team we had lost to earlier in the season,” Sweat said. “Down by seven at the half, we made a good run in the fourth quarter by outscoring them 23-12.”
The win moved the Lady Tigers to a 5-4 overall record and 1-1 in the region as the team heads into a well-deserved break from the action. The team will not be back on the court until 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 13 when they host the North Hall Lady Trojans in a critical early season regional game.