Saturday November 28th, 2015 2:42AM

Boys basketball: Dawson County dazzles early in defeat of East Hall

By Morgan Lee Sports Editor
DAWSONVILLE -- Dawson County boys basketball coach Thad Burgess often worries about his team's lack of depth.

Thanks to their fast start on Monday, the Tigers set Burgess's nerves at ease for at least one night.

After falling behind East Hall 2-0 in Dawsonville, Dawson County ripped off a 13-0 run that ballooned to a 20-6 first quarter lead and a 31-8 halftime advantage that the Tigers converted into a 60-49 victory.

"That first half was as good as we could play," Burgess said. "We knew East Hall would make a run, and they did. But it was good to see that we had enough energy to answer that run."

If not for Dawson County's total dominance of the first half, the Vikings may have made life uneasy for the Tigers (19-2, 8-2 Region 7-AAA) after putting up 28 fourth quarter points. But by the time Triston Cooper sank a 3-pointer to cut Dawson County's lead to single digits for the first time since midway through the first quarter just 28 seconds remained in the contest.

"We only play about seven guys, and that means we end up playing a lot of close games, and that depth just scares you to death sometimes," Burgess said. "But we gave ourselves a great cushion tonight, and our guys hit some big free throws to maintain control of the game.

"And the guys play with everything they've got. They just know what it takes to win."

Certainly the Tigers held the winning formula in the first half, draining three early 3-pointers while playing suffocating defense to grab a decisive early lead. Gunnar Armstrong and Will Anglin each drained treys over the opening minutes for the Tigers, while Tyler Dominy also hit from outside -- part of a strong first half in which the senior scored 12 of his game-high 18 points.

Dominy also showed his defensive determination from the outset, swatting three first quarter shots -- he finished the game with eight blocks -- but he was far from alone, as Dawson County rarely allowed an open look for East Hall's shooters. And when the Vikings did pull the trigger, second shot opportunities proved even rarer, as Dawson County controlled the boards with 16 first half rebounds, compared to nine for the visitors.

In fact East Hall (7-13, 4-6) managed just one basket in the entire second quarter -- a putback from Brian Edwards that notched the senior's 1,000th point.

"I don't know if we could play better defensively," Burgess said. "We don't score a bunch, so we have to play good defense, but that was incredible in the first half."

The Tigers continued to pour it on early in the third quarter, as Anglin and Lucas Pain each scored to push the Dawson County advantage to 38-8.

East Hall's Cooper responded by finally breaking a 6:38 scoring drought for the Vikings, drilling a 3-pointer with 3:54 left in the period. The shot sparked East Hall, which closed the quarter on a 13-4 run. And the Vikings continued to chip away in the fourth quarter, closing within 50-38 on Hayden Chapman's lay-in with just over three minutes to play.

But the Tigers' would not yield control of the contest, Dominy responding with a thunderous alley-oop dunk before Armstrong and Jonathan Sanderson each hit free throws down the stretch to maintain Dawson's lead -- despite East Hall outrebounding the Tigers 20-11 in the second half.

"Sweeping East Hall, it just doesn't get much better than that; we haven't done that very much around here," Burgess said. "They're a team that's going to be hard to beat in the region tournament, and we showed what we're capable of times against them tonight."

The Tigers will look to keep things rolling on Tuesday when they travel to face Banks County in a busy week made busier by last week's inclement weather that forced Dawson County to battle East Hall on Monday -- the game was postponed from Friday.

East Hall, meanwhile, will play host to West Hall on Tuesday in a battle for seeding in the upcoming 7-AAA tournament.
© Copyright 2015
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Bartus, Icemen shuts out Gwinnett
Garrett Bartus pitched a 42 save shutout, as the Evansville IceMen topped the Gwinnett Gladiators on a New year
10:23PM ( 1 year ago )
Gator Bowl Preview Capsule
A rematch of last year's Capital One Bowl, which Georgia won 45-31 in Orlando.
8:52PM ( 1 year ago )
Millsap's 34 leads Hawks past Celtics
Paul Millsap had season highs with 34 points and 15 rebounds as the Hawks rallied from an 18-point deficit for a 92-91 win over the Boston Celtics on Tuesday afternoon.
7:44PM ( 1 year ago )
Big Red Shootout: Buford foils Lady Elephants' upset bid in finale
Buford junior Camille Anderson knows to forget about the past during games.
11:09PM ( 1 year ago )
Boys basketball: Knights rebound with win over Centennial
The Johnson boys bounced back after a loss to Grayson on Friday with a 94-72 win Saturday night over Centennial in the Duluth Jingle Jam.
10:43PM ( 1 year ago )
Girls basketball: Dawson falls in Battle of States finals
Dawson County fell behind early and could not complete the comeback in a 70-65 loss to Hayesville, N.C. in the championship game of The Battle of the States Tournament Saturday night.
10:38PM ( 1 year ago )
High School Sports
PLAYOFFS: Three goes into four, as area trio earn semifinal berths
Once the dust settled on Friday night, northeast Georgia found three teams still standing in the state football playoffs -- and it was so nearly four...
9:14AM ( 6 hours from now )
Class AAAA: Buford stomps into ninth straight state semifinal
Were it any other team the number alone would seem absurd, but Buford football could care less about numbers at this time of year -- at least any number but "one."
By AccessWDUN Staff
8:58AM ( 6 hours from now )
(VIDEO) Class AAAAAA: Mill Creek routs Archer to advance to first semifinals
Mill Creek used a dominating defensive performance to whip Archer 23-0 and advance to its first-ever semifinals in a Class AAAAAA quarterfinal matchup Friday night at Mill Creek Community Stadium.
8:58AM ( 6 hours from now )
Class A Public: Road warrior Tigers march back into semifinals
The road keeps on getting longer -- and Commerce football is enjoying every second of the ride.
By AccessWDUN Staff
8:57AM ( 6 hours from now )
Class AAA: Dawson's magical run ended by BT, Shelton
Dawson County football will never forget a magical 2015 football season.
8:56AM ( 6 hours from now )