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Middle school Lady Tigers prepare to defend title
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The eighth grade Dawson County Middle School girls’ basketball team is chomping at the bit to get this year’s season underway.


Even though they have changed schools, last year the team won the seventh grade championship at Riverview, the team is stronger, faster and more experienced.


Head Coach Nichole Gilleland followed her players from Riverview Middle School to Dawson County Middle School and said that her team is primed for another championship run.


Gilleland has been coaching for five years. She coached at St. Pius before returning home to Dawson County.


“I have almost every player returning from my seventh grade team, so I expect them to be able to build on what we did last year. Our focus right now is communication and defensive intensity,” said Gilleland.


“I look to Allie Costley and Carly Gilreath as leaders and to put points on the board, Hannah Porter and Kacie Bearden as threats from the outside, and Kenna Sites, Gracie Hovan and Whitney Glover to turn on our defensive intensity,” Gilleland said about her team.


“The girls are really looking forward to the game against Riverview. They have a history there as the 2008 Mountain Region Champions. Many of them played in the softball game against Riverview and while it was a competitive game, they had a great time playing each other,” Gilleland said about the team’s showdown this season with Riverview Middle School.


“I hope that by the end of the season I have 12 girls ready to go play high school ball. High school is a quicker paced game, with more intensity. We’ve definitely got to work on quickness and making smarter decisions on the court. My goal is to turn them into intense competitors, who also conduct themselves in such a manner that makes the school, their coaches, and their parents proud,” she said.


The Lady Tigers will open the season this Friday against Union County in Blairsville.


Tip-off is scheduled for approximately 7 p.m.


E-mail Pam Jacobs at