Ellijay, Ga — As the weather starts to cool, it means that we are getting into basketball season. On Saturday, November 19th, the annual Thanksgiving Tournament that features Copper Basin, Fannin, Gilmer, and Pickens, began. This year, it is being played in the newly redesigned gym known as “The Cage” on the campus of Gilmer High School. The first game of the tournament featured a pair of top ten teams going at it as the #6 team in 3A the Pickens Dragonettes, took on the #4 team in 2A, the Fannin Lady Rebels.
For the Nettes, it was their second game on the young season as they defeated Cherokee Bluff 71-25 on November the 12th to open the season. For the Lady Rebels, it was their first “official” game of the 2022-23 season, but they did look impressive in their scrimmage earlier in the week. The Nettes, led throughout this one and came away with the 54-40 win.
In the first quarter, Pickens got on the board quickly as Emma Gleason made the layup after the feed from Caroline Mullins and converted on the and-1 to give the Nettes a quick 3-0 lead. Ava Queen got the Lady Rebels on the board with a layup of her own to make it 3-2. After a steal by Fannin, Reigan O’Neal went 1-2 from the free throw line to tie the game up at 3. The Nettes, would come up with a takeaway of their own and Emmie Moore would find Gleason under the bucket for two to make it 5-3. Madison Powell took the hand off from Gleason and made the layup to make it 7-3 Nettes. Highly touted Lady Rebel Courtney Davis got into the score book with a scoop layup to make it 7-5.
After a block by Bella Hopkins, Freshman Ellison Steinhauer took it down the floor and got fouled on the layup attempt. Steinhauer would go 2-2 from the line to make it 9-5 Nettes. O’Neal, would answer right back with a tough layup in traffic to make it 9-7. Hopkins got in on the scoring with a three to make it 12-7. Moore used a nice pump fake to drive into the lane for the layup. The free throw was good and that made it 15-7 Nettes. After a back and forth first quarter, Pickens led Fannin, 15-7.
Steinhauer got the scoring started in the second quarter with a nice drive to the bucket and gave the Nettes a 17-7 lead. Pickens added to the lead with a Hopkins three. Her second of the first half to make it 20-7. After a steal by Emory Bryant, Steinhauer connected on a three to make it 23-7 Nettes. A nice find by Steinhauer led to a made three by Moore to make it 26-7. Davis, put an end to the 11-0 scoring run by Pickens and gave Fannin its first points of the second quarter with a layup making it 26-9. After grabbing a rebound, Mullins threw a long outlet pass to Steinhauer who connected with her second three of the first half to make it 29-9. Queen came back on the other end and connected on her first three of the first half to make it 29-12. At the break, the Nettes would lead the Lady Rebels by a score of 29-12.
To begin the third quarter, Ellie Cook of the Lady Rebels gave Fannin the first points of the second half as she caught the deflected pass and made a nice reverse layup to make it 29-14. Mullins, got her first two points of the ball game as she answered on the other end with a nice spin and drive to the bucket to make it 31-14. Davis, then raced down the floor and made a layup as the two teams were now trading buckets. After the Nettes kept a possession alive with an offensive rebound by Gleason, Mullins was fouled driving to the basket. She made 1 of 2 to make it 32-16 Pickens.
Davis, using her speed, drove down the floor, went underneath the basket, and found Cook who connected on the three to make it 32-19. Mullins, was able to draw the foul on the next trip down the floor and make both free throws to give the Nettes a 34-19 advantage. Jayden Bailey, was able to grab the rebound and get the bucket. After a miss on the free throw attempt, the Lady Rebels were able to get the rebound and get another tough bucket. This time by Riley Reeves. She completed the and-1 and it was down to a 34-24 Pickens lead.
Steinhauer, setteled things down just a little as she went 2-2 from the line to make it 36-24. Davis, again using her speed, raced down the floor for the layup to once again make it a 10 point game. After a no call on one end, the Nettes were able to drive down the other end a connect on a three by Steinhauer. Her third of the game. O’Neal, was able to drive down the lane and went 2-2 on the free throw line. Mullins answered with a layup to make it 41-28. Reeves, would get fouled on the layup attempt and go 1-2 from the line to make it 41-29 Pickens going to the fourth.
Davis, got the scoring started in the fourth with a layup to make it 41-31. Mullins, then did one of the many things she excels at and that’s driving down the lane and getting contact on shot attempts. Mullins would go to the line and make both shots to make it 43-31. Hopkins then collected the rebound off the Reeves miss and drove it the length of the floor and made the layup to make it 45-31. After a steal by the Nettes, Mullins had a breakaway all alone and made the layup to stretch the lead out to 47-31. Gleason, after getting a steal, passed it ahead to Steinhauer. After missing her first attempt, Steinhauer grabbed her own rebound and got the put back.
On the next Nettes possession, Steinhauer again grabbed an offensive rebound, got the ball out to Gleason, who found an open Mullins in the corner for the three to make it 52-31. O’Neal then came back with a nice three of her own to make it 52-34. Pickens, had a nice play in-bounding the ball as Hopkins found a cutting Bryant for the layup to make it 54-34. Queen, came back on the other end and drove for a layup to make it 54-36. After a rebound by the Lady Rebels, Reeves drove to the basket and got the layup to make it 54-38. A nice pass down inside by O’Neal led to another layup by Queen to make it 54-40. The Nettes, were able to run out the rest of the clock and Pickens came away with a 54-40 win.
Both these teams will be back in action on Monday as the Nettes will take on the Copper Basin Lady Cougars at 3 pm. The Lady Rebels, will take on the hosting Gilmer Lady Cats at 6 pm.
Jefferson, Ga — The Pickens Dragonettes, took to the road on Wednesday, March 2nd to take on the Jefferson Lady Dragons in the Elite 8 of the GHSA 4A Girls State Basketball Tournament. It was a minor miracle for the Nettes to even get to this game as they had to battle back from a 14 point 4th quarter deficit on the road against the Daugherty Lady Trojans in the Sweet 16. Jefferson, was the #1 seed out of region 8. The Nettes, showing a willingness to never quit, overcame a 12 point 4th quarter deficit to defeat the Lady Dragons, 51-50.
Jefferson got out to a quick start in the first quarter as they built an early 4-0 lead. Emmie Moore, who came in for the Nettes after Caroline Mullins had to leave the game for a bit after falling on her elbow, got Pickens on the board with a layup to make it 4-2. The Lady Dragons then added a three, to make it 7-2. Moore, a freshman, then went on a personal 5-0 run as she made another layup and hit a three to tie it up at 7. After Jefferson retook the lead with a bucket, Amanda Nelson tied things up at 9 with a layup. She would then give the Nettes the lead after hitting a free throw to make it 10-9. The Lady Dragons would answer back with a bucket to make it 11-10. Caroline Mullins, now back in the game, got her first points of the contest with a layup to make it 12-11 Nettes. Jefferson would go on a 4-0 run to close out the first quarter as the Lady Dragons led it, 15-12.
The Nettes began the second quarter with a 5-0 run as Nelson hit a three, and Caroline Mullins made a bucket to give Pickens a 17-15 lead. After Jefferson split a pair of free throws and then made a layup, Madison Powell responded with a three pointer to give the Nettes a 20-18 lead. The Lady Dragons answered with a three pointer of their own to reclaim the lead, 21-20. After Caroline Mullins split a pair of free throws to tie things up at 21, Jefferson again went on a 4-0 run. This one, closed out the first half as we headed to halftime with the Lady Dragons leading the Nettes, 25-21.
The third quarter began with Jefferson hitting back to back three pointers to make it 31-21. Powell answered with a three of her own to make it 31-24. The two teams then split a pair of free throws to make the score 32-25 in favor of the Lady Dragons. After a layup from Jefferson, Nelson hit another three to make it 34-28. Nelson, then put an end to a 4-0 run by the Lady Dragons with a layup to make it 38-30. After a 5-0 run by Jefferson that included three free throws, another Nettes freshman, Brylee Deering, stepped up and hit a three to make it 43-33. A layup by the Lady Dragons near the end of the quarter gave Jefferson a 45-33 advantage heading to the fourth.
Nelson got the fourth quarter started with a layup to make it 45-35. After a pair of free throws from Jefferson, Carmyn Mullins made a layup in traffic to make it 47-37. Deering, then split a pair of free throws to make it 47-38. Moore, then drove into the lane, made the layup, and got fouled. She would make the free throw to cut the Lady Dragons lead down to 47-41. Jefferson, then made a pair of free throws to stretch their lead out to 49-41. Then, the Nettes went to work. Caroline Mullins drove into the lane for the layup to make it 49-43. Nelson, then lined up and fired another three pointer to make it 49-46. With Caroline Mullins bringing the ball up the court, the Lady Dragons trapped her in a corner, she found Nelson, who then found an open Bella Hopkins who hit a three pointer to tie it up at 49. By this point the Nettes faithful that made the trip, were losing their minds. After a stop defensively, and a timeout, Caroline Mullins got by her defender and drove into the lane for a tough layup to give Pickens a 51-49 lead with 40 seconds left.
Here’s where things get interesting shall we say. Jefferson would miss two potential go ahead short shots. A fight for the ball occurred which resulted in a jump ball. The arrow pointed the way of the Nettes with 23 seconds left. After a timeout was called by Pickens to avoid the 5-second call, the ball was passed in to Caroline Mullins. Mullins, would miss the front end of the 1 and 1. Jefferson got the rebound and drove down the court and was fouled with 13 seconds left. The Lady Dragons split the free throws to make it 51-50 Nettes. On the missed free throw, a tie up with the ball led to the Lady Dragons getting a timeout granted with 12.2 seconds left. After the timeout, Jefferson found an open girl under the basket, but she was called for the travel, giving possession back to Pickens with 4.6 seconds left. a jump ball was called on the ensuing in-bounds play, which gave the Lady Dragons the ball with 2.3 seconds left. Jefferson lobbed it into the paint, but Emma Gleason was able to force a lose ball. The ball went out of bounds as time expired and the Nettes began to celebrate. That celebration was short lived as the officials determined that there was .3 seconds left on the clock when the ball went out on Gleason. Jefferson lobbed it up for a desperation shot at the basket, but it was no good and the Nettes held on to knock off the Lady Dragons, 51-50.
Pickens, will have a quick turnaround as they will face the Marist Lady War Eagles in the Final Four on Friday, March 4th. Marist, advanced to the Final Four on Tuesday with a 36-16 victory over the Nettes region mates, the Heritage Lady Generals. The game will be played at Fort Valley State University in Fort Valley, Georgia. Tip off is set for 6 pm.