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Tigers outlast Columbus High School 56-53
Varsity Boys Bball pic2
Tigers Cullen Reed attempts a difficult shot over two defenders in a recent home game. - photo by Ryan Coker Dawson County News

Dawson County High School Head Coach Thad Burgess' Tigers basketball team played three games last week.

The Tigers played at Banks County on Dec. 15 and lost to the Leopards, 55-38, in Regiona 7-AAA action.

Dawson County then went on the road to Columbus to play in the Pacelli Christmas Tournament.

On Dec. 18, the team narrowly lost to Mount de Sales, 48-46 on a last minute basket.

Burgess' team rebounded on Dec. 19 for a win over Columbus High School, 56-53.

The Tigers are currently 4-5 overall and 0-2 in region play.

Dawson County played at Pickens County (2-7) on Monday night. Scores weren't available at press time.

The game is a rematch of opening night in which the Tigers dominated, 63-41.

"This is a very important game at Pickens to head into Christmas [break] with some extra confidence," Burgess said.

The team will take a few days off before playing in the George Walton Academy Tournament in Loganville beginning Dec. 28. The tournament will last through Dec. 30.

Dawson County will open with Athens Christian Academy (5-3) on Dec. 28.

"Playing three straight days will keep giving us game experience and situations and also will be a good conditioning tool as we get back into play against Franklin on Jan. 2."

Against Banks County the Tigers had a difficult time scoring in the first half and managed only 12 points by halftime.

The Leopards (10-0) also couldn't figure out the Tigers defense with only 18 points of their own during the first 16 minutes of play.

Banks County separated themselves in the third quarter and outscored Dawson County, 20-10, to take a 16-point lead at 38-22.

Tigers Gabe Bryant exploded in the fourth quarter to score 14 of his team-high 16 points.

Even though Dawson County picked up the offense in the quarter, getting outscored, 17-16, it wasn't enough as the team dropped the 17-point decision.

There was a huge discrepancy at the free throw line. The Leopards shot 13 for 21 while Burgess' team only went to the charity stripe three times, of which two points were made.

The win by Banks County puts them squarely on top of the Region 7-AAA race with a 3-0 record going into the Christmas break.

Zez Steele led the Leopards in scoring with 18 points.

Scoring for the Tigers were Cullen Reed with 9 points, Jeremiah Crumley added 6 points, Joseph Cronin had 3 points, Kolton Brumbelow and Noah Davis scored two points each.

The opening round of the Christmas tournament in Columbus matched the Tigers against Mount de Sales Academy out of the Macon area.

The Tigers exploded for 31 points in the first half to lead, 31-27, at intermission behind the 15 points of Jeremiah Crumley. Crumley connected on 5 three-pointers in the first 16 minutes of play.

Crumley finished with 18 points to lead his team. He made six three pointers.

Offensively, the Tigers struggled on offense in the second half.

Even though Burgess and his squad struggled for points, the team held a one point lead with 30 seconds remaining.

A missed shot gave the ball back to Mount de Sales with time running down.

The inevitable happened with de Sales converted as time expired to steal the victory.

Dawson County was outscored 21-15 in the second half.

Rounding out the scoring for Dawson County was Gabe Bryant with 9 points, Reed added 8 points, Davis scored 6 points, Ryan Gallenkamp with 3 points, and Brumbelow with 2 points.

Garrett Thomson led the Cavaliers with a game-high 20 points.

In Saturday's game against Columbus High (5-4) both teams struggled for points in the first half with Columbus holding a slim, 21-20, lead.

Tigers Crumley caught on fire in the third quarter and connected on three 3-pointers for nine points and led his team to a 40-34 advantage going into the fourth quarter.

Both teams battled in the final eight minutes.

Once again Crumley came through and hit two more three-pointers and went 1 for 2 from the free throw line, allowing Dawson County to escape with the much needed 56-53 victory.

Crumley completed the game with a game-high 19 points.

Cullen Reed and Gabe Bryant also scored in double figures with 14 and 11 points respectively.

Also entering the scoring column for Dawson County were Davis with 9 points, Watson added 2 points, and Jacob Moore had a single point.

Noah Lott led Columbus in scoring with 19 points.

Teammate Lincoln Smith added 12 points in the loss.

"I really like how we came back on Saturday after losing on a last second shot on the previous night. I thought our young guys showed a great deal of heart and fight to win against a very athletic and talented Columbus High team on the road," Burgess said.

"I am very proud how they fought to stay in game and make a big basket at the end of the game to go up two, and then have a really good defensive series with their last position to win.

"Those types of games are so good for young players to experience pressure at its highest level and learn how to respond."