Dragons will be #3 seed in next week’s region tournamentPHS Basketball, Team FYN Sports February 11, 2023
Oakwood, Ga — After a tough game at home on Tuesday, February 7th against the now 7-AAA regular season champs Wesleyan, the Pickens Dragons, had one game left in the regular season. On Friday, February 10th, they traveled down to take on the West Hall Spartans. With a win, the Dragons would leap Gilmer for the #3 seed in the 7-AAA region tournament. It was a back and forth game with Pickens staging a late comeback to defeat the Spartans, 62-58.
The Spartans, got things going to begin the first quarter as Andrew Malin hit a floater in the lane to make it 2-0 early on. Jaden Stewart tied things up at 2 as he took the hand off from Kadyn Hampton and banked in a floater of his own. Hampton, then stole the ball and found McCord Purdy for a three pointer to give the Dragons a 5-2 lead. Malin, hit a free throw line jumper to cut the lead to 5-4. Owen Jenkins, gave West Hall its first lead of the game with a layup.
Caleb Lanford, answered with a three to give Pickens the lead back at 8-6. Hampton, then drove into the lane and got fouled. He would split the free throws to make it 9-6. Isaiah Holder, got a turnaround shot to go to cut the Dragons lead down to 9-8. Pickens, then went on a 6-0 run getting a lay in from Hampton, and two straight buckets from Purdy to make it 15-8. Quintavous Reid, would go on a 5-0 run to close the first quarter as the Dragons led, 15-13.
Reid, continued his scoring run into the second quarter as he tied the game up at 15. Lanford, ended what ended up being a 7-0 run with a lay in after a nice find by Hampton to put Pickens back on top, 17-15. West Hall, quickly retook the lead with a three pointer by Holder to make it 18-17. Stewart responded with a three of his own to make it 20-18 Dragons. The Spartans, then tied it at 20 with a layup as each team traded baskets.
James Tilley, retook the lead for Pickens as he made his first three of the game. Holder, made a layup after a bounce pass from Reid to make it 23-22 Dragons. Caleb Keith, then found Tilley for a mid range shot to make it 25-22. After a bucket by Reid, Stewart and Tilley made back to back three pointers to make it 31-24. A 4-0 run by West Hall cut the Dragons lead down to 31-28. Stewart, ended the run with a basket to make it 33-28.
A 5-0 run by the Spartans would tie the game back up. This time, at 33 a piece. With 2 seconds remaining in the first half, Isaiah Williams made a layup after a great pass by Purdy to put the Dragons up 35-33 over the Spartans at the break.
Lanford, got the scoring started in the second half with a three to make it 38-33 Pickens. Malin, got a pair of free throws to fall and Holder hit a three to tie the game at 38. Hampton, caught a pass from Lanford as he was cutting in the lane and laid it in to give the Dragons a 40-38 advantage. After Reid split a pair of free throws, Pickens went on a 5-0 run with Williams making a layup and Lanford hitting a three to make it 45-39.
Malin, split a pair of free throws to cut the Dragons lead down to 45-40. Williams, got a nice entry pass from Lanford as he would hit a turnaround floater to make it 47-40. The Spartans, then hit a three to make it 47-43. Williams, was then at the right place at the right time as he picked up a loose ball and laid it in to make it 49-43. With the game clock draining in the third, Xavier Felix threw up a contested corner three and made it to make it 49-46 Dragons going to the fourth.
Holder, got the scoring going in the fourth for the Spartans as he cut the Pickens lead down to 49-48. After a pair of free throws by Tilley, made it 51-48 Dragons. West Hall, would then go on a 10-0 run to take a 58-51 lead. Williams, ended the run as he split a pair of free throws to make it 58-52. He then cut the lead down to 58-55 after a three pointer. After a timeout by the Dragons, Lanford added to the run by making back to back baskets to put Pickens in front, 59-58.
With around 13 seconds left in the game, Hampton poked the ball loose and Williams was able to force a jump ball with the arrow pointing the way of the Dragons. With no choice but to foul, the Spartans put Stewart on the line to shoot the one and one. Stewart, made the front end, but would miss the second attempt to make it 60-58. On their next possession, West Hall threw the ball out of bounds. Turning it over. The Spartans fouled Tilley with 5 seconds left, and he calmly knocked down both shots to seal a 62-58 win for the Dragons.
Final 7-AAA Boys Basketball Standings:
Wesleyan: 19-6 (10-2) regular season champs & #1 seed
White County: 14-11 (8-4) #2 seed
Pickens: 12-12 (7-5) #3 seed
Gilmer: 17-8 (7-5) #4 seed
West Hall: 12-13 (6-6) #5 seed
Dawson: 9-16 (3-9) #6 seed
Lumpkin: 4-21 (1-11) #7 seed
The Dragons, will now look towards the 7-AAA Region Tournament next week as it will begin on Tuesday, February 14th at White County. As you see in the standings above, Pickens will be the #3 seed and take on the #6 seeded Dawson Tigers for a chance to make the 3A State Tournament. The Tigers, swept the season series with the Dragons taking the first game on December 13th 77-61 in Dawsonville, and the second game on January 26th 59-54 in Jasper. Tip off for the third meeting is set for 6 pm.
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