The Dawson County Tigers boys' basketball team continued on its mission to control its own destiny by picking up two more significant region wins last week against Fannin County and North Hall.
"We still have control over our own destiny," said Head Coach Chad Pittman. "We can't finish first or second but we can finish as high as third. With that being said, we need to win out...so far we have taken care of it."
The first was a home win on Jan. 24 against the Fannin County Rebels.
The Tigers showed they were able to play with a lead in the Tuesday game that they won 73-48.
The Tigers missed their first three shots before Jeremiah Crumley started things off with a 3-pointer from the top right of the arc.
Cullen Reed hit Kane Pelfrey for two down low just before the first time out of the game with the Tigers down 2 points. Reed found Pelfrey a second time underneath and Dawson took the lead at 9-7.
The Tigers would not trail again.
Pelfrey hit again off a steal and Crumley and Joseph Cronan both knocked down threes for the 19-9 lead after one quarter.
Ryan Gallenkamp drove the lane and scored and Corey Hammond added two more down low.
Cronan had two more 3-pointers in the second and the Tigers had a 34-19 lead at half.
Crumley's drive out of the half resulted in a 3-point play and Gallenkamp picked up a rebound on the next possession before Reed hit a jumper for two.
Gallenkamp had his own jump shot go in and finished with 7 points and 7 rebounds.
Crumley was hit as he made his three on the next time down and added one more from the line.
He had 13 points in the game.
Foul calls put teams in the bonus early and the Rebels and Tigers traded turns at the line as Dawson continued to pull away.
Reed and Cronan both finished with 14 points.
During Dawson County's homecoming win against then 13-9 North Hall on Jan. 27, the Tigers again jumped out to an early lead on their way to a 62-44 win.
It was 21-4 after the first quarter.
Reed started the scoring with an early jump shot followed a short time later by a turnaround jumper.
Pelfrey hit a three from the low left side and a Crumley rebound led to another drive by Reed for 2 points.
After a missed North Hall three, Crumley pulled out a steal and added two more.
Cronan picked up a rebound and fought underneath for his first two of the night. He would finish with 11, including a late 3-pointer to help seal the win.
The Trojans called a timeout with 1:17 in the first period, down 21-2.
"It's kind of like last Friday. We had an opportunity to beat North Hall at their place. I didn't have to say a lot before the game for us to be ready to play," Pittman said. "I think that was evident by our first quarter."
As happy as Pittman was with the first quarter performance, he was equally undone by the second.
The Tigers only added 5 points in the second off a Hammond basket down low, a Crumley pull up for two and a Pelfrey free throw. The Trojans, however, added 13.
"I was upset at halftime because if we had done anything in the second quarter, the game would have been over," he said. "The good news for us is we really are a second half team."
Out of half, the Tigers went back to work on a feed to Reed from Crumley followed by a Crumley three up top on the next possession.
Crumley would find Reed yet again for another easy 2 points.
Reed had 19 on the night and Crumley had 17 with four rebounds, four assists and four steals.
A Reed 3-pointer up top made it 36-21 and prompted a timeout.
At the end of three periods, the Tigers led the Trojans 42-29.
North Hall was able to close the gap to 9 points in the final period before Gallenkamp and Cronan drained threes to deflate the Trojans' hope for a comeback.
"Big shots in the game when Ryan hit that three in the fourth," he said. "A possession or two later Joseph hit a three and those two were like daggers."
Gallenkamp would also complete a 3-point play off a foul from a Campbell Reed assist.
The Trojans were forced to foul down the stretch but Gallenkamp and Crumley hit everything from the line.
Following the game, homecoming festivities took place at half court and senior manager for the boys' team, Emma French, was crowned homecoming queen along with Hammond who was named homecoming king.
This week the Tigers have two more important region games headed into the region tourney next week.
Dawson hosted East Hall, who is 9-1 in Region 7-AAA, on Jan. 31. Results were not available as of press time.
The Tigers will play at 8:30 p.m. on Feb. 3 at home against Union County for senior night.
"This week is important. We win out and we finish third," Pittman said. "We need to win Friday regardless."