GAINESVILLE -- Dawson County girls coach Steve Sweat has been waiting seven years for a shot at a region title. He and his Lady Tigers will get their chance Saturday night.
The Lady Tigers used a 22-8 second quarter to take control of their game with Fannin County and then held off the Lady Rebels for a 56-38 win in the Region 7-AAA semifinals at the North Hall gym.
"We're in the finals. That's what we came here for," Sweat said. "We felt all year we were good enough to get here. Now we have to find a way to win it."
Dawson County (22-4) will take on Buford at 7 p.m. Saturday at North Hall for the region title. Buford advanced to the finals with a 37-22 win over White County Friday night in the other semifinal game.
Regardless of the outcome, the Lady Tigers already have made history earning their first-ever home playoff game. It had been 11 years since they had even advanced to the playoffs.
"We very excited about being in the playoffs. These girls had never made it so I'm happy for them," Sweat said.
Fannin County pushed the Lady Tigers for one quarter trailing just 11-8 after the opening period. Dawson County finally got going in the second quarter behind Sheyenne Seabolt, who poured in 11 of her 13 points in the first half, and took a 33-16 lead into halftime.
Fannin County closed the gap midway through the third quarter using a 12-4 run to get within 37-28. But Dawson County closed out the period with a 9-0 run for a 47-28 lead. The Lady Rebels never got closer than 15 the rest of the way.
Lady Tigers' senior Carly Gilreath almost single-handedly kept Fannin County at bay scoring 18 of her game-high 26 points in the second half. The Lady Rebels scored just 22 points as a team in the second half.
Hope Cochran paced Fannin County with 12 points.
The Lady Rebels will take on White County at 4 p.m. Saturday at North Hall in the third place game.
WHITE CO. 22
Buford opened the game with a 6-0 run and closed out the game with an 8-0 run en route to a sloppy win in the semifinals Friday night.
The Lady Wolves led 12-2 early in the game and would lead 14-5 after the first quarter and take a 22-9 lead into halftime.
Buford would extend its lead to 27-13 by the end of the third quarter. But White County would not go away.
The Lady Warriors used a 9-2 run to open the fourth quarter, capped by a 3-pointer from Hannah Wall, to trail just 29-22 with four minutes left in the game. But the Buford defense was too much down the stretch.
The Lady Wolves held White County scoreless the rest of the way.
Kristina Nelson led Buford with 14 points. Bree Horrocks added eight points and McKenzie had seven for the Lady Wolves.
Wall paced White County with six points on two 3-pointers.