The Pickens Dragonettes and Dragons traveled to Dahlonega on Friday evening to face off with the Lumpkin Lady Indians and Indians and both had an impressive amount of success, overcoming some great play by their Lumpkin counterparts to grab two great road victories.
The first game of the day featured the Dragonettes and the Lady Indians in a rematch from December 3rd, which Pickens won 70-31. This matchup looked like it would be on the same pace in the first quarter thanks to a great start by the Nettes, who scored the first seven points in the game and eventually outscored the Lady Indians 18-9 in the period.
Pickens continued to take advantage of Lumpkin’s mental mistakes in the second quarter and did not allow the Lady Indians to score at all until there was only 2:26 left in the first half, allowing the Dragonettes to stretch their lead to 37-17 going into the locker room.
Although the first half was nearly perfect for Pickens, the third quarter showed that Lumpkin would not go down without a fight. Benefiting from great free-throw shooting and accurate three-point shooting, the Lady Indians came charging back after the half, outscoring Pickens 15-7 to make it a 44-32 game with a quarter left to play.
Still holding onto a manageable lead, the Dragonettes’ struggles at rebounding and following their shots let Lumpkin creep even closer until they managed to make it a 58-55 game with just fifty-five seconds left in regulation. Thankfully for Pickens, key free throws from Makayla Payne with forty-nine seconds to play and a great rebound by Olivia LeMieux with under fifteen seconds to go allowed Pickens to secure a 62-57 victory.
Sarah Smith made play after play for Pickens on this night, leading the team in both scoring and rebounding with fifteen points and fourteen rebounds. Smith also had one assist in the victory.
Haley Kalson had her share of highlights in Friday’s victory, scoring thirteen points and tallying ten rebounds. Kalson also had three assists and one steal in the victory.
Hannah Byers terrorized the Lady Indians down low time and time again, finishing the game with ten points. Byers also recorded four rebounds and one block in the win.
Now with an opportunity to sweep Lumpkin, the Dragons took to the court hoping to duplicate the success they had in their last go-around with the Indians, which ended with a 61-50 win for Pickens.
The first quarter started off with both teams struggling to find a rhythm offensively, a problem that Tanner Brumby quickly helped the Dragons overcome. Brumby scored five of Pickens’ first six points in the opening period, and thanks to his scoring and great play by Clay Wigington, which included consecutive blocked shots as the quarter drew to its close, the Dragons kept up with the Indians’ fast pace. When the first period ended, Lumpkin held an 11-9 lead.
Despite suffering from foul troubles stemming back to the first quarter, Pickens was able to match Lumpkin throughout the second quarter, trading the lead back and forth with the Indians several times before Dylan Curry’s shot with 1:56 to go left the game tied 20-20, which would prove to be the score at the half.
The third quarter saw the Dragons continue to fight hard but eventually be outscored 13-8, leaving the road squad down 33-28 going into the fourth quarter. Just as nearly every game has been for the Dragons this season, this matchup was destined to come down to the wire; the action really intensified with 2:21 to go, when Shannon Brooks’ shot tied the game 39-39. Now in need of a response, Lumpkin provided what could have proven to be a dagger, lobbing up a shot behind the arc that was right on target, putting the Indians up 42-39 with 1:28 left on the clock.
Down but certainly not out, the Dragons answered with a three from Tanner Brumby, evening the score at 42-42 with 1:03 remaining. The score would remain deadlocked until just seven seconds were left on the clock, which is when Clay Wigington was fouled. Wigington walked to the line and promptly hit his first free throw, putting Pickens up 43-42.
Still with an opportunity to win the game, Lumpkin rebounded Wigington’s second shot but wound up going out of bounds with the ball, giving the Dragons the possession. The Indians then fouled Brumby with 0:03 left on the clock, sending Brumby to the line with a chance to seal the deal. Brumby sank his first shot and then missed the second, but the Indians were unable to hit their desperation three as time expired, allowing the Dragons to win the game 44-42.
Tanner Brumby led the Dragons in scoring on this night, finishing the game with thirteen points. Brumby also posted three rebounds and one steal in the victory.
Clay Wigington has shown time and time again how dominating he can be for the Dragons this season, and Friday night was no different. Wigington finished the contest with eleven points, a team-high eight rebounds, and three blocks.
Both Shannon Brooks and Dylan Curry did what they were asked to against the Indians, which ultimately helped propel Pickens to victory. When it was all said and done, Brooks and Curry combined for sixteen points and seven rebounds in the game.
The victories against Lumpkin moves the Dragonettes’ record to 5-5 and the Dragons’ to 7-3, leaving many to believe that both teams are poised to make some noise in AAAA this season. Both teams will be back in action on Tuesday night when they face Fannin in Jasper. The girls’ game is scheduled to tip-off at 6:00 p.m.