The Pickens High School Dragons basketball team traveled to Dalton high school for the Region 7-AAAA tournament. In a first round match up with the Ramblers of Lafayette, the Dragons roasted the Ramblers 50-37.
The Dragons drew first blood with a three from Shannon Brooks which sparked a 12-4 run by the Dragons. However, the Ramblers responded with a 5-0 run to close the quarter. Going into the second period Pickens led 12-9.
Brooks broke the Ramblers revelry with a three to start the second quarter scoring, just as he did in the first quarter. After a Lafayette “And 1” three point play the Ramblers faced a three point, 15-12, deficit with 6:40 left in the first half.
The Dragons then proceeded to go on a 11-2 run that was punctuated by a Jacob Stephens three just before the half. The Dragons led by 12, 26-14, at half time. Brooks and Stephens had already chipped in eight points each.
The Dragons remained hot in the third, as yet another three opened the quarter scoring, this one from Pickens senior, Chris Leicht. The Dragons continued to set the hot pace throughout the third; however, the Ramblers picked up the press on Pickens in the last two minutes of the period forcing Pickens into a plethora of problematic turnovers.
Going into the fourth, the Dragons held a 37-24 lead; however, Lafayette’s defense was no laughing matter. The Ramblers’ press pressured Pickens into a plethora of problematic turnovers. As a result the Dragons lead began to shrink.
Fueled by the defensive turnovers, with a 7-2 run the Ramblers cut the Dragons lead to eight, 39-31, with 4:29 left. Pickens head coach, Brad Steinhauer, called a time out.
The time out seemed to be perfect for Pickens, as Stephens picked off a Ramblers pass and hit two free throws for a 41-31 lead with 4:11 left. The free throws sparked an 11-6 Dragons run that sealed the 50-37 victory and secured a seat in the second round of the Region Tournament.
The Dragons will next face the Bruins of Northwest Whitfield, Wednesday February 13th at 5:30.
Jacob Stephens led the Dragons with 15 points, Shannon Brooks finished with 11 and Tayjai Howell chipped in eight.