The first day of the Pickens Holiday Classic basketball tournament provided mixed results for Pickens, as the Dragonettes took care of the Murray County Lady Indians 41-38 while the Dragons fell to the Mount Pisgah Patriots 49-20.
The Dragonettes took on the Lady Indians in a matchup that featured a slow start for both squads, as the team’s combined for twelve points in an opening quarter that saw Pickens hold a 7-5 lead at its end. The Nettes utilized the rebounding skills of Sarah Smith and Haley Kalson again and again in the second quarter, helping Pickens hold a slim 19-18 lead at the half.
Pickens continued to play very well in the third period, but Murray’s second chances did not go wasted, allowing the Lady Indians to stay within striking distance. At the third quarter’s end, the Dragonettes held a 29-25 advantage.
Murray closed the gap on Pickens to start the fourth, but two consecutive three-pointers by Makayla Payne gave the Dragonettes some breathing room. The Lady Indians eventually caught back up and made it a 39-38 game with forty-five seconds remaining, but two excellent free throws from Olivia LeMieux made it a three-point game. Murray did what it could to even the score, but a rebound by Taylor Wigington in the waning moments sealed a 41-38 victory for the Dragonettes.
Sarah Smith displayed her dominating ability against the Lady Indians, leading Pickens in both scoring and rebounding with seventeen points and eighteen rebounds, respectively. Smith also had two assists and one block in the victory.
Olivia LeMieux made plays again and again on Thurday night, and when it was all said and done the senior had eleven points, four rebounds, one assist, and one steal in the game.
Makayla Payne saved her scoring for when it mattered most, recording her six points in the final quarter of play to help Pickens get the “W”. Payne also had four rebounds, two assists, and one steal in the win.
Following the girls’ victory came the Dragons’ game against the Mount Pisgah Patriots. The first quarter began with the appearance of a back-and-forth game being on the horizon, which started to change when the Patriots hit a run late in the quarter to hold a 16-8 advantage. The Dragons had plenty of opportunities to rally and even the score, but were unable to take advantage. Mount Pisgah outscored Pickens 12-4 in the second quarter to hold a 28-12 lead at halftime.
Down but still not out, the Dragons continued to fight in the third quarter, but unfortunately Mount Pisgah just would not relinquish the lead on this night. The Patriots held a 47-17 lead at the end of the third quarter on their way to what would prove to be a 49-20 victory.
Wesley Sparks led the Dragons in scoring on this night, putting up four points in the loss. Sparks also recorded one rebound.
Clay Wigington had a team-high six rebounds in the game. Wigington also had three points. one assist, and one block in the loss.
The Dragons and Dragonettes will be in action again on Friday in the tournament’s second of three days. The Dragonettes will take on the Collins Hill Lady Eagles at 6:00 p.m. in the new gym at Pickens High School; the Dragons will play the Model Blue Devils following their game.