Dragons punch their ticket to 3A state tournamentPHS Basketball, Team FYN Sports February 15, 2023
Cleveland, Ga — After defeating the West Hall Spartans on the road on Friday, February 10th to secure the #3 seed in the 7-AAA Region Tournament, the Pickens Dragons made the trip up to White County to take on the Dawson Tigers. The winner, would advance to the 3A State Tournament, and to the semifinals of the region tournament. The Tigers, had gotten the better of the Dragons in the regular season winning both games. Pickens, picked up the win over Dawson win it mattered most as they advanced with a 75-64 victory.
The Dragons, came out hot to start the ball game. After Kadyn Hampton hit a pair of free throws, Caleb Lanford got on the board with a bucket to make it 4-0 Pickens early. The Tigers, cut the lead to one with a three pointer to make it 4-3. The Dragons, then went on an 8-0 run as Isaiah Williams made a lay in and James Tilley hit back to back three pointers to make it 12-3. Dawson, ended the run with a layup to make it 12-5.
Williams, then went to the line and made a pair of free throws to stretch the lead back to 9. Jaden Stewart, got in the score book as he split a pair of free throws to make it 15-5. The Tigers responded with a 4-0 run to cut the lead down to 15-9. Pickens ended the first quarter on a 5-0 run as Stewart hit his first three of the game and McCord Purdy made a pair of free throws to make it 20-9 Dragons going to the second.
Purdy, kept the run going to begin the second quarter as he hit a three to make it 23-9. Dawson, ended the run with a basket to make it 23-11. Purdy, then went to the line for two more shots and he made them both to make it a 14 point lead again. The Tigers, then got hot offensively as they went on a 10-0 run to cut the Dragons lead down to 25-21. Williams, ended the big Dawson run with a layup to make it 27-21.
The Tigers answered with a layup of their own to cut the lead back down to 4. After Stewart split a pair of free throws, Williams then hit a three pointer to make it 31-23. Both teams would then split free throw shots as that made it 32-24. As the remaining seconds ticked off the clock in the first half, both teams trade buckets as the Dragons went into the break with a 34-26 lead.
Dawson got the third quarter going with a basket to cut the lead down to 6. The Dragons, then went ona 9-0 run as Lanford would make a two pointer then a three pointer, and Stewart would make a three pointer and split a pair of free throws to make it 43-28. The Tigers, countered and went on a 5-0 run to cut the lead to 10. After Lanford split a pair of free throws, Dawson hit a three to cut the lead to 44-36.
The Dragons, then went on a 6-0 run as Hampton got a layup to go, Williams, converted an and-1, and Seth Cronic split a pair of free throws to make it 50-36. After a pair of free throws from the Tigers, Caleb Keith went on a 4-0 run to make it 54-38. Dawspn, ended the third quarter with another pair of free throws as Pickens took a 54-40 lead into the fourth.
Both teams traded three pointers to begin the fourth quarter as it remained a 14 point lead for the Dragons. That three pointer by Tilley sparked what would be another 9-0 run for Pickens as they stretched their lead out to 63-43. After both teams made a basket each, Dawson, went on an 8-0 run to cut the Dragons lead down to 65-53. Pickens ended the run after a bucket by Williams and a pair of free throws by Purdy to make it 69-53.
The Tigers, doing everything they can to get back into it, went on a 6-0 run to cut the lead to 69-59. Once again, the tandem of Purdy and Williams stopped the Dawson run as Purdy continued to be automatic from the free throw line making a pair of shots and Williams got a bucket to go to make it 73-59. After a 5-0 run by Dawson cut the lead to 9, Stewart stepped up and hit a pair of free throws to close it out and give the Dragons a 75-64 win.
With the win the Dragons will advance to the 3A State Tournament and also to the 7-AAA Region Tournament Semifinals where they will take on the #2 seeded White County Warriors. The Warriors, outlasted #7 seed Lumpkin County 58-50 in overtime to advance. The Dragons and Warriors split their two regular season match ups. Both winning on their home floor. The third meeting will take place at a neutral site as they will play at Dawson. Tip off time is set for 5:30.