The Pickens Dragonettes and Dragons ended their final home game of the regular season on the right note, going 2-0 in games against Chestatee High School in a pair of tight Senior Night matchups.
The first game of the evening featured the Nettes and the Lady War Eagles, who came into the contest ranked 4th in the state’s AAAA classification. Both teams played very well defensively in the opening quarter of play, resulting in Chestatee leading the game 6-5 at the quarter’s conclusion.
Pickens picked up the pace considerably in the second quarter thanks in large part to freshman Taylor Wigington. Wigington was on fire from behind the arc at this point in the game, connecting on four consecutive three-point attempts in a period that saw Pickens outscore Chestatee 17-5. The Dragonettes’ explosion on offense, including a buzzer-beating three by Makayla Payne, allowed the team to hit the locker room with a 22-11 lead.
Chestatee came flying back in the third quarter thanks to some great three-point shooting, which helped the Lady War Eagles grab a 31-28 lead with 3:04 left on the clock. Despite being shocked by a 20-6 run by Chestatee, Pickens then regained the momentum thanks to a three from Haley Kalson followed by a layup by Wigington, putting the Nettes up four points. The Dragonettes had another buzzer-beater left in their symptom, which was delivered by Olivia LeMieux to give Pickens a 39-31 lead with one quarter to go.
The fourth quarter would feature some great plays from both squads, culminating in an exciting final minutes of play. The Dragonettes would regain the lead on a three-pointer by Makayla Payne with 1:14 left in regulation, giving Pickens a 42-40 advantage. The Nettes tacked on three more points thanks to a great put-back by Sarah Smith and a free throw from Haley Kalson, but the Lady War Eagles would answer with five points in the final eleven seconds, forcing overtime.
The extra session of play was just as highly contested as the previous four quarters, and things were looking up for Pickens when Kalson’s free throw shooting put the Nettes up 51-50 with 1:28 left on the clock. A rebound by Smith allowed the Dragonettes to run the clock, which they did until only thirty-four ticks remained. Now in a major situation, Taylor Wigington walked to the line and promptly drained both of her free throws, giving Pickens a 53-50 advantage.
A technical foul called on Chestatee head coach Web Daniel certainly helped the Dragonettes’ efforts to close this game out, and the free throw from Kalson gave Pickens a 54-50 lead with thirty-two seconds left. the Lady War Eagles would add two more points before the period’s end, but it was not enough to defeat the Dragonettes. Pickens would win the game 56-52.
Taylor Wigington was unstoppable for the Dragonettes against Chestatee, tallying a team-high sixteen points in the contest. Wigington, who had a 100% shooting percentage in the game, also had six rebounds and two assists in the overtime victory.
Haley Kalson’s clutch performance was certainly a big part of the Nettes pulling off the upset. When it was all said and done, Kalson had fourteen points, twelve rebounds, two assists, and two steals against the Lady War Eagles.
Sarah Smith showed out in her final game at PHS, scoring eleven points and coming down with a team-high fourteen rebounds.
Following the girls’ game, Pickens honored all of the seniors on the two basketball teams along with the cheerleading squad and the band. Video can be viewed below:
Now with an opportunity to sweep Chestatee, the Dragons stepped up to battle with the War Eagles. The War Eagles started off on a hot run and threatened to put Pickens in a considerable deficit, jumping out to a 6-1 lead; however, the Dragons responded with four unanswered points, leading to a back-and-forth quarter that saw Pickens lead 15-14 at is end.
Chestatee’s defensive prowess became an issue for Pickens for the better part of the second quarter, allowing the War Eagles to take the lead and build upon it. The Dragons were able to close the gap a bit before time ran out, but at halftime Chestatee still led 34-28.
The War Eagles came out of the gates shooting three’s, leaving the Dragons in deep trouble. Instead of panicking and taking bad shots, the Dragons continued to work hard for the best available shot and utilized Chestatee’s foul troubles, eventually tying the game with 2:14 left on a three-pointer by Tanner Brumby. Pickens would even it up again with 1:23 on a shot by Wesley Sparks, but with just one quarter to go Chestatee held a 53-51 advantage.
This highly contested ballgame would provide a classic finish. The Dragons would take the lead with 2:35 to go on a shot by Shannon Brooks, who then hit his free throw to give Pickens a 64-61 lead. Chestatee then quickly inbounded and drained a three-pointer, leaving the game all tied up with 2:30 left in regulation.
Brooks would drive and put up two more points for Pickens, leaving the Dragons up two with two minutes left. A great rebound by Brumby on Chestatee’s next possession gave Pickens a perfect chance to run the clock, which it did until Brooks hit another shot under the basket to hand the Dragons a 68-64 lead with a little over a minute to go.
A rebound by Clay Wigington helped the Dragons inch even closer to a victory, but Chestatee responded to close within two points with 0:38 left. Another well-timed rebound by Wigington gave the Dragons the ball back, which soon led to senior Dalton Bruce stepping up to the line. Bruce hit his last free throw, putting Pickens up 69-66 with twenty-five seconds to go.
Chestatee’s off-the-mark shot on the next possession gave Pickens a great chance to close out the game, inbounding the ball with 4.0 seconds left on the clock. The Dragons were able to successfully pass the ball back in and hit one of the resulting free throws, resulting in a great 70-66 victory.
Shannon Brooks’ play for Pickens this season has been excellent, and Saturday’s game just added to his highlights. When it was all said and done, Brooks had a team-high twenty-eight points. He also had six rebounds, one assist, one block, and one steal.
Clay Wigington was a rebounding machine for the Dragons against the War Eagles, leading Pickens with fifteen rebounds. Wigington also had seven points and two steals in the victory.
The Dragons’ five seniors--Tanner Brumby, Jacob Stephens, Wesley Sparks, Dalton Bruce, and Tylar Urlaub--all had fine outings in their last games at Pickens High School, combining for thirty-four points.
The Dragons and Dragonettes now both own records of 13-9 this season, including 4-2 records in region play. Both squads will play again on Tuesday, Jan. 4, when they travel to Cedartown to take on the Lady Bulldogs and Bulldogs. The girls’ varsity game is slated to start at 6:00 p.m.