The Pickens High School Dragonettes and Dragons varsity basketball teams traveled to Cedartown High School to battle the Bulldogs. It was Cedartown’s senior night and the home teams pulled out two close wins in front of a raucous hometown crowd, 71-67 over the “Nettes” and 44-43 over the Dragons. The Pickens junior varsity Dragons was the only team to score a win, blowing out the Bulldogs 55-32.
The Lady Bulldogs bit first with a three that was quickly with an Olivia LeMieux layup, after PHS beat the Cedartown press. Haley Kalson put the “Nettes” in front with a three, her first of four on the night.
With 5:14 left in the first quarter Sara Smith put Pickens up 7-3 after an assist from Kalson; however, the Lady Bulldogs answered with a put back basket that cut the lead to two. The “Nettes” responded with a 6-2 run that put Pickens in front 13-7 with 2:51 left in the first quarter.
Kalson hit another three to put Pickens up 16-7; however, the Lady Bulldogs closed the quarter with a 10-6 run that saw the “Nettes” take a 23-17 lead into the second quarter.
Kalson opened the scoring in the second period off an assist from Makayla Payne. Cedartown responded with a basket of its own; however, Payne hit a three, assisted by LeMieux, and the “Nettes” led 28-19.
Cedartown scored two straight baskets, but a LeMieux forced jump ball led to an assist to Smith that put Pickens up 30-21. The home team went on a 13-7 run that cut the lead to four, 37-33, with 1:24 left in the first half.
Kalson connected with Hannah Byers to push the Pickens lead to six. LeMieux’s stutter step pull up jumper put Pickens up 41-34.
Cedartown hit two more baskets, but Smith closed the half with a nice post move jumper, giving Pickens a 43-38 lead at half time.
Kalson again opened the quarter with the first basket, off an assist from Payne. Smith followed with a three point play that pushed the Pickens’ lead to 10, 48-38, with just under a minute of the second half played.
The Lady Bulldogs simply had no answer for Smith in the first half and early parts of the third quarter, however, the Cedartown press began to cause problems for Pickens and the Lady Bulldogs cut the lead to five, 56-51, going into the fourth quarter.
CHS opened the fourth quarter with a 9-3 run that gave the Lady Bulldogs a 60-59 lead with 5:34 left in the game. A Sydney Romine steal lead to two Kalson free throws and the Dragonettes took the lead back, 61-60.
CHS answered with two baskets to take a 63-61 lead; however, Smith tied the game with two free throws, with 3:21 left in the game.
Three more CHS free throws followed by a lay gave the home team a 68-63 lead, and with 1:21 left the Lady Bulldogs went to the “four corners” keep away game, leading 68-63.
Smith found Kalson cutting to the basket to cut the lead to three, 68-65, but another home team free throw pushed the lead back to four, with 1:04 left in the game.
After CHS forced a jump ball and missed two free throws, the Nettes got the ball back with 34.7 second left on the clock and four point deficit. Two critical PHS turnovers forced in the last twenty seconds seemed to close the door; however, Autumn Young hit a jumper with 5.1 left to cut the lead to two, 69-67.
The Lady Bulldogs hit the last two free throws of the game and the “Nettes” got nipped, 71-67.
Sarah Smith had a monster night, scoring 27 points. Haley Kalson followed with 23 points, 12 from beyond the arc. Payne, Byers, and Taylor Wigington each had three. Romine and Young each had two.
After a brief “Senior Night” ceremony the Dragons looked to battle the Bulldog boys. The Dragons came out on fire, winning the tip and drawing first blood.
Jacob Stephens assisted Clay Wigington and Pickens picked up a 3-0 lead. The Bulldogs with responded with a basket; however, Shannon Brooks put the Dragons up 4-2 with a free throw.
Neither team was able to muster much offense in the first quarter as both teams used the press to oppress the other team’s offense. The quarter ended with CHS leading 7-6.
Tanner Brumby put Pickens in front with a jumper that made the score 8-7 with just under seven minutes left in the first half. Tyler Urlaub’s steal and consequential fast break layup put Pickens up 10-7; however, the home team tied the game with a three at the 4:31 mark.
Over the next four and half minutes the two teams traded leads like baseball cards in the 50’s, exchanging the lead six times and tying once. The half ended with Clay Wigington’s buzzer beating put back that cut Cedartown’s five point lead to three, 23-20 at the half.
Cedartown opened the second half with a 6-3 run that saw the Bulldogs push the lead up to 29-23 with 4:31 left in the third quarter; however, a Brooks to Brumby basket ignited an 11-2 run by the Dragons that scorched the deficit and saw PHS take a three point, 34-31, lead into the fourth quarter.
Brooks opened the fourth period scoring with two free throws, pushing the run up to 13-2, by the 4:49 mark, the run had grown to 15-2 over eight minutes of game play; however, a three point play by the Bulldogs ignited the home crowd and the CHS faithful.
With 4:15 left in the game, CHS tied the game 37-37. A three with 3:52 left in the game put CHS up 40-37. Brooks hit another free throw to cut the deficit to two with 3:23 left.
The Bulldogs took control, scoring the four more points while stifling the PHS offense, which did not score again until there were 37.5 seconds left in the game. Urlaub hit two free throws, cutting the lead to 44-40.
Brooks hit a free throw with 22 seconds left, and Clay Wigington’s put basket with 12.3 left in the game, were the last PHS scores of the game, and the Dragons fell by one, 44-43.
Clay Wigington led the Dragons with 12 points, followed by Brooks with 11. Brumby finished with nine, while Dalton Bruce, and Urlaub finished with seven and four respectively.