The Dawson County High School varsity Tigers basketball team came away with a huge win over visiting Union County in a non-region game last week at the Ford E. Phillips Gymnasium in Dawsonville.
Head Coach Thad Burgess' team prevailed, 45-38, in the Jan. 19 event to even its overall record at 10-10 this season.
The Tigers outscored Union County in every quarter.
The team's Jan. 22 game against Banks County was cancelled due to the weather.
"The weather break comes at a time when we are playing good, but I think the rest will be fine and help as the final two weeks come into play for all region teams. I am pleased with where we are, and anxious to see how the regular season ends. It is fun to watch these guys come together and care for each other," Burgess said.
The coach said that is glad to see the confidence that his team has gained throughout the season.
"This team seemed to really gain a lot of confidence and toughness in the loss versus East Hall. In both the wins over Chestatee and Union we played with a lot of confidence, excitement and emotion as a team.
"Our players have settled into, and are accepting, roles which really improves team chemistry. They seem to have really become close and pulling for each other the last couple of weeks," he said.
Jeremiah Crumley led the Tigers in scoring with 18 points.
The sophomore guard sealed the game with perfect free throw shooting in the fourth quarter. He went 6 for 6 from the free throw line.
Crumley also connected on his patented three-point shot. He hit two long range bombs in both the first and third quarter.
Gabe Bryant, the team's 6'8" sophomore post player, also had a good night offensively for the Tigers. He scored 10 points.
The Panthers from Blairsville had no answer inside for Bryant in the third quarter when the talented player scored eight of the teams 16 points in the quarter.
The game got off to a slow start with Burgess' team holding a slim, 8-5 after one quarter.
Both offenses heated up over the next 16 minutes with Dawson County edging the Panthers, 29-26, in scoring to take a, 37-31, lead into the final quarter.
Dawson County won the game from the free throw line in the fourth quarter.
All eight of the Tigers points were from the charity stripe in the final eight minutes.
Crumley was 6 for 6 and teammate Coey Watson was 2 for 4.
Lawson Baenninger led Union County in scoring with 13 points.
Following the loss, Union County fell to 9-10 overall and 4-2 in Region 8-AAA.
Up next for Coach Casey Jones' Panthers is a date with region leader Rabun County on Friday.
Rounding out the scoring for Dawson County were: Cullen Reed with 6 points, Kolton Brumbelow added 5 points, Jacob Moore, Noah Davis and Watson each had 2 points.
The upcoming week will be very tough for the Tigers.
Dawson County will host Lumpkin County on Friday.
The Indians are currently in second place in Region 7-AAA with a 16-5 overall record and are 6-2 in region play.
Game time will be at 8:30 p.m.
Lumpkin County defeated the Tigers, 70-47, earlier in the season.
On Saturday, the Tigers will host region leading Banks County.
This is a rescheduled game from Jan. 22 that was canceled due to inclement weather.
The Leopards come into the contest with a perfect 8-0 region record. Coach Mike Cleveland's team also has an impressive 18-2 overall record.
In December the Tigers lost, 55-38, to the Leopards.
The tentative time for Saturday's game is 6:30 p.m.
Burgess said his team is going to have to maintain their level of play to be successful the remainder of the season.
"With five region games to go, we just want to maintain this level. I knew the region was loaded with experience and talent, but I feel confident our guys will compete and do it as a strong team together. Any win now helps with seeding at the end, but we will just worry about getting better each day," he said.