DAWSONVILLE — Dawson County opened the second half with a 14-0 run to erase a halftime deficit and then held on for a 61-57 win over Class 3A No. 8 Cherokee Bluff Friday night in a key Region 7-3A game at the Dawson County gym.
The win for the Tigers (9-5, 3-1 Region 7-3A) moves them just one-half game behind the Bears (9-6, 4-1 Region 7-3A) who suffered their first loss in region play.
The game was back-and-forth in the early going with the two teams trading the lead half-a-dozen times. The Bears led 15-14 after the opening quarter but Dawson County led 19-18 midway through the second.
Cherokee Bluff looked to take control using a 15-6 run to end the first half to run out to a 33-25 lead. The Tigers stormed out of the gate to open the third quarter.
A Tyler Lane stick-back basket tied the game at 33 and a Jake Craft 3-pointer gave them a 36-33 lead they would never relinquish. A Lane basket a minute later capped the big run.
A Carlos Marlow 3-pointer for the Bears cut it back to 39-36 and a pair of Shad Dabney free throws got Cherokee Bluff within 42-40 late in the third quarter. The Bears got to 53-52 with 3:20 left in the game on a Dre Raven driving basket but a Joakeim Celestin dunk capped a quick Dawson County run to push it back to 57-52. The Bears could get no closer.
Celestin poured in 17 points, all in the second half, to pace Dawson County. Craft finished with 15 points, including three 3-pointers, and Jaden Gibson added 10 points for the Tigers.
Cade Simmons scored 16 points to lead Cherokee Bluff. Raven had 15 points but Bears’ leading scorer Corey Thomas was held to just 6 points and just two field goals.
DAWSON COUNTY GIRLS 62,
CHEROKEE BLUFF 27
The Lady Tigers held Cherokee Bluff to just 8 first-half points in rolling to their first Region 7-3A win at home.
Dawson County (7-4, 1-2 Region 7-3A) led just 8-3 early on but outscored the Lady Bears (5-10, 1-4) 20-5 over the final 11 minutes of the first half to blow it open for a 28-8 halftime lead.
The Lady Tigers did not let up, extending their lead to 47-18 by the end of the third quarter.
Dawson County outrebounded the Lady Bears 30-21 for the game.
Kirklyn Porter led Dawson County with 19 points. Abby Slaton added 11 points for the Lady Tigers. Timber Gaither paced Cherokee Bluff with 7 points.