The Pickens High School Dragonettes basketball team traveled to Fannin County High School for the annual Tip-Off Tournament. The “Nettes” faced the Gilmer Lady Bobcats in the first matchup of the “round robin” style tournament on Saturday. It was a game that was incredibly close for the entirety of the contest, but the “Nettes” was able to hold on late for a win 49-47.
Olivia Lemieux got things started with a three pointer and gave the Dragonettes the early lead. The Lady “Cats” rattled off an 8-0 run before Haley Kalson knocked down another long ball.
Although Sarah Smith was unable to contribute offensively in the first quarter, she made her presence felt on defense as she pulled rebound after rebound and affected any shot taken in the paint. Pickens’ third three came from Makayla Payne and the “Nettes” trailed 13-9 after the first quarter.
Baskets by Smith and Lemieux got the offense going for the “Nettes” in the second quarter. Autumn Young converted the rare four-point play when she was fouled on a made three-point basket and made her free throw.
Another Young three pointer had given Pickens a 21-17 lead. Payne came back with a trey ball of her own, the opportunity created off of a pick her teammate set. Three points from Smith extended the lead to 26-19 for the “Nettes.” A small run by Gilmer to end the half had brought it closer, but Pickens was still on top 27-24.
The Lady “Cats” came out on fire in the third quarter, stealing anything that came near and turning it into points. After a 9-2 by the Gilmer, Smith got position on her defender and momentarily stopped the bleeding.
Gilmer put the pedal down again though, jumping out to a 38-31 lead. Three’s from Kalson and Payne ended the third quarter and the “Nettes” pulled closer, trailing 40-37.
A long shot from Young tied the game for the “Nettes,” and her old fashioned three-point play put the “Nettes” on top. It’s a lead Pickens wouldn’t relinquish, as Smith and Kalson did what was asked of them to keep the “Nettes” out in front. Pickens would take the game against the region rival 49-47.
The “Nettes” took on the Lady Rebels in Pickens’ second game of the tournament. Points were tough to come by in this one, with Smith leading the Nettes with just 12 points. Kalson and Payne finished with six each, and the offensive woes led to a 41-32 defeat.
The Dragonettes still had the winless Cougars to face on Tuesday, and a win against “Basin” would put Pickens in position to share the championship via three way tie with Gilmer and Fannin.
There wasn’t a lot to report on in this game as it got ugly pretty quick. Kalson and Smith did much of the scoring for the Dragonettes early. The entire bench came in during the first quarter and when it came to an end, the “Nettes” led 20-0.
The starters made their way back onto the court for the first three minutes of the second quarter. The Nettes defense was stingy, barely allowing the Lady Cougars to cross midcourt. Steals led to points on nearly every occasion, and the Nettes were up 37-0 at the half.
With the third quarter half way over, the Nettes gave up their first points of the game, a long three pointer. The backups came back into the game and finished the quarter up 45-4. The fourth quarter was shortened and the Pickens Dragonettes did what was necessary to have a chance at sharing the championship, winning 61-4.
Things didn’t go Pickens’ way in the Fannin and Gilmer game, so the “Nettes” had to settle for 2nd place which is no small feat. The "Nettes" did have three girls make the All-Tournament: Smith; Payne; and Kalson.
The Dragonettes will host Lumpkin County on December 3rd.