The Pickens High School basketball teams traveled to Gilmer County on Wednesday to play in a makeup game that had been canceled the week before. In attendance were the varsity teams along with the JV Boys team. Every game was close for the duration of the event, but the PHS teams all fell to the Bobcats on the night.The junior varsity boys’ team kicked the night off and had an exciting game. Trent Rizoti was left alone in the opening minutes of the game and quickly put two points on the board for the Dragons. Both teams were applying heavy pressure on one another and causing multiple turnovers.
Travis Huffman erased a three point deficit when he nailed a three-pointer off the inbound pass to tie the game at 5-2. Walker Lawrence would hit a shot in the closing moments of the first quarter to keep the game tied at 7-7.
The second quarter was better offensively for both teams. Lawrence scored the first basket of the quarter for the Dragons and Rizoti was a monster on the boards. Two straight offensive rebounds led to two points for him.
Dalton Presley made the most of the bonus free throws he was given, and Lawrence finished the quarter with another great drive. At halftime, the Dragons trailed by two, 19-17.
Doug Timms started the third quarter in a big way with a three-pointer from the top of the key. A nice pass from Holden Roop to Rizoti resulted in two points for PHS as the Dragons took a 24-21 lead. This is a lead Pickens would maintain throughout the quarter as Rizoti took over and Roop hit a big three pointer. With a quarter to go, the Dragons was on top 32-29.
The fourth quarter was a tough one as the basket seemed to get smaller for the Dragons. Timms, Huffman, and Lawrence all scored for Pickens, but a late three-pointer by the Bobcats clinched the game for Gilmer as Pickens lost 42-40.
The Dragonettes was up after the JV game and the girls played in another exciting game. Sarah Smith started things off for the “Nettes” with a turnaround jumper. A Haley Kalson offensive rebound sent her to the line after a foul where she made one of her free throws.
Smith scored on another jumper and put the “Nettes” out front. The Lady “Cats” rattled off nine unanswered points before Hannah Byers grabbed an offensive rebound and scored as time expired. After one, PHS was behind 12-7.
Kalson started the scoring for the “Nettes” in the second quarter when she drove right by Gilmer defenders for two points. Smith scored three straight points, her only ones of the quarter, to cut the lead to three. Kalson took control of the game and scored the next seven Pickens points, but Gilmer was able to pull away. At the half, Pickens trailed 27-19.
The Dragonettes was able to hang with Gilmer in the third quarter, holding the Lady “Cats” to Gilmer’s lowest scoring quarter of the game. Smith caught fire, scoring seven points in the quarter. Add in Olivia Lemieux’s buzzer beating putback, and the “Nettes” was poised to make a comeback run.
It seemed as if Gilmer had an answer for everything Pickens threw. Smith had another tremendous quarter, as did Kalson. With the help of Makayla Payne and Paula Picket, Pickens put up 17 fourth quarter points, almost matching their entire first half production. It was too little, too late though as the Dragonettes fell 53-45. Smith led the team in scoring with 22 points followed by Kalson who put up 16.
As always, the boys’ game between Pickens and Gilmer was full of an intensity that everyone in attendance could feel. Shannon Brooks scored first with a eurostep to the basket. Clay Wigington followed that up making one free throw. Wigington came back down the court and tipped in a missed shot for two more points.
The Dragon defense was causing problems for Gilmer, keeping the Bobcats from scoring. Tanner Brumby had no issues though, as he nailed a long three to give PHS an 8-3 lead. Gilmer made a small comeback, but another Brumby basket gave Pickens a 10-8 lead at the end of the first.
Wigington was sent to the charity stripe almost immediately and connected on both attempts. He then scored again on the inbound to help extend their lead. After Jacob Stephens scored, Wigington scored five straight points. Brooks scored another basket, but Gilmer had cut the deficit to one point. Dalton Bruce had seen enough, so he nailed two straight threes to end the half, giving the Dragons a 29-26 lead.
The second half contained one thing happening for the Dragons, and that was hearing Brooks’ name over and over again. Gilmer was able to figure out the Pickens defensive scheme and started scoring in bunches, but Brooks did as well. After putting up only four points in the first half, he erupted for 21 second half points, with the rest of the team combining for only seven. He did all he could, but the Bobcats offense was too much and the Dragons fell 68-57.
Leading the Dragons in scoring was Brooks with 25 points and Wigington with 12.