The Dawson County High School varsity Tigers basketball team is hitting its stride at just the right time.
With the Region 7-AAA tournament a week away, Dawson County is playing with a lot of confidence.
It was evident last week as Head Coach Thad Burgess' team took two wins. The first at Franklin County on Jan. 26 by a 63-42 score and the second at home against Lumpkin County on Jan. 29 by a score of 71-39.
The Lumpkin County game was especially sweet for the Tigers, according to Burgess.
Coach Jeff Steele's team came into the game in third place with an impressive record of 16-8 and 6-5 in Region 7-AAA play.
"It was a great week for us," Burgess said. "We played our best games against these two really good teams. It was the best we have played in two years."
Earlier in the season the Lions won, 42-28, while the Indians routed the Tigers in early January, 70-47.
The tired Tigers had to turn around on Saturday and play No. 1 Banks County.
Dawson County outplayed the Leopards over the first two quarters but ran out of gas the rest of the way. The team lost to Coach Mike Cleveland's squad 55-44.
"We were able to stay with Banks until we just wore down physically," Burgess said."I feel that we are at a stage that I hoped for.
"We are playing with a lot of confidence and our chemistry is really good. We want to finish strong at West Hall on Friday."
Friday's game with West Hall will be the last regular season game. There is a good chance that the Tigers could see the Spartans in the first round of the region tournament at East Hall Feb. 9.
At Franklin County (7-17; 2-9) on Jan. 26, Jeremy Crumley and Cullen Reed led a balanced Tigers attack with 16 and 15 points respectively.
Reed scored 6 points in the second quarter to help the Tigers take a 32-17, lead into the locker room at halftime.
The sophomore chipped in 7 more points in the third quarter to extend Dawson County's lead to, 46-27.
Crumley was spectacular from the free throw line. He shot 10 for 12 for the game. He was clutch down the stretch, where he hit 6 of 8 from the charity stripe. Crumley also connected on two, three-pointers.
As a team Dawson County was 33 for 47 from the free throw line for 70 percent.
Six additional Tigers entered the scoring column: Gabe Bryant-8, Kolton Brumbelow-5, Joseph Cronin-2, Jacob Moore-2, Coey Watson-2 and Corey Hammond-2.
The Lions were led by Brooklon Wright with 15 points.
Friday's home game with rival Lumpkin County didn't follow the script the Indians thought. The Tigers jumped on Lumpkin County early to take a 13-7 lead after eight minutes of play.
The Tigers extended their lead to, 34-17, by halftime.
Reed led the charge in the second quarter. He scored 9 points, all on three-pointers.
Reed finished with a game-high 21 points.
Lumpkin County couldn't crack the Tigers defense and managed only 22 points in the second half as Dawson County cruised to the win.
Crumley and Bryant also contributed heavily on offense. Both players had 13 points in the contest.
Dawson County hit 12 three-pointers in the game.
Also putting up points for the Tigers were Cronin with 8 points (all in the fourth quarter), Brumbelow with 2 points, Noah Davis scored 5 points, Watson with 6 points and Ryan Gallenkamp had 3 points.
In Saturday's game Dawson County held a slim, 19-17, lead at halftime, but the second half went to the visiting Leopards as they outscored Dawson, 38-25, to take the 11-point win.
Crumley got off to a great start hitting 3 three-pointers in the first quarter. But the Leopards held the talented sophomore scoreless for the rest of the contest.
Tigers guard Reed tried to bring Dawson County back in the fourth quarter. He scored 11 points on 2 three-pointers but it wasn't enough. Reed led the Tigers in scoring with 18 points.
Also scoring for Dawson County were Gallenkamp-6, Watson-5, Brumbelow-2, Davis-2 and Bryant with 2 points.
The Tigers are now 12-11 overall and 3-7 in region play.
Friday's game at West Hall will begin at 8:30 p.m.