The Pickens Dragonettes and Dragons took care of business for the second straight day on Saturday, defeating the Excel Christian Academy Lady Lions and Lions in dominating fashion at home.
The first varsity matchup of the afternoon pitted the Dragonettes against the Lady Eagles. Excel held their own with Pickens in the first quarter thanks to some clutch three-pointers, but great passes by Pickens, specifically freshman Autumn Young, set up some great shots and allowed the Dragonettes to hold a 13-6 lead going into the second quarter.
Pickens looked set to take total control of this game in the second quarter thanks to a 7-0 run to begin the period, putting the Nettes up 20-6. However, the Lady Eagles came flying back on the wings of a 7-2 run of their own, setting up for an interesting end to the first half. Once the scoring streaks were said and done and the teams headed into the locker rooms, Pickens would the owner of a 29-19 lead.
The Dragonettes continued to make big plays in the third quarter, something that Excel did but not quite at the pace that Pickens was setting. Pickens would outscore Excel 19-11 in the third quarter, leaving the Nettes up 48-30 going into the final quarter.
Excel was in desperate need of an incredible quarter in order to close the gap on Pickens, but instead the fourth was all Dragonettes. The Nettes completely shut down the Lady Eagles in the fourth quarter, allowing just two points in a quarter that saw Pickens cruise to a 62-32 victory.
Makayla Payne was on point with her shooting on Saturday, tying Sarah Smith with a team-high fourteen points against Excel. Payne also had four rebounds, two assists, and three steals in the win.
Sarah Smith simply cannot be stopped in her senior season, and this was evident once again. Smith finished the contest with fourteen points, eight rebounds, and one block against the Lady Eagles.
Haley Kalson has quietly continued to have great success in rebounding; the junior led Pickens with sixteen rebounds on this night. Kalson also had nine points, three assists, one block, and two steals.
Now with an opportunity to seal another sweep, the Dragons took to the court determined to excel their counterparts from Excel. The first quarter would prove to be a struggle for both sides due to some poor shot selection, and when it was all said and done the Dragons held a slim 8-6 lead.
The action would pick up in the second quarter, an eight-minute period that saw the two teams trade the lead several times. The Dragons would take a 16-15 lead with 3:50 remaining in the half thanks to a three-pointer by Dalton Bruce, but the Eagles eventually answered to tie the game 21-21 with just twenty-three seconds showing on the clock. It seemed as if the game would be tied at the half, but junior Shannon Brooks had other things in mind. Brooks would hit a layup despite being fouled to give Pickens a 23-21 lead, which would be the score at halftime.
The third quarter has a habit of being the deciding period for Pickens this season, and it was certainly the case Saturday night. The Dragons completely dominated Excel in the third, taking the wind out of their sails with a beautiful alley-oop pass from Dalton Bruce to Shannon Brooks, who connected on an awesome dunk with 4:00 remaining in the quarter. Brooks’ dunk would propel Pickens to a 14-2 quarter that would give the Dragons a nice 37-24 with one quarter to go.
Excel was not content with allowing Pickens to coast to victory, providing some great shots to keep their slim hopes alive. However, the Dragons answered the Eagles’ shots again and again, thwarting the chances of an upset. Pickens would hold its own in the fourth to defeat Excel 57-43.
Shannon Brooks energized the crowd at Pickens High School with his dunk in the third quarter, but it was not his only big play of the day. When it was all said and done, Brooks led the team in scoring with seventeen points; the junior also had nine rebounds, three assists, one block, and one steal in the victory.
Clay Wigington’s status as the Dragons’ big man was solidified with a great showing on Saturday, as the junior crashed the boards again and again to record a team-high thirteen rebounds. Wigington also had eleven points, two assists, and three blocks in the game.
Tanner Brumby continues to make plays for the Dragons, scoring fourteen points in this matchup. Brumby also had three rebounds, one assist, and one block against Excel.
The Dragonettes and Dragons are now 11-8 and are proud owners of a two-game winning streak. Both squads will but this streak on the line on Tuesday, when they take on Cass in Jasper. The girls’ game is set to tipoff at 6:00 p.m.