Posted: Tuesday, February 5th 2013 at 10:37pm
Girls basketball: Lady Tigers hold off North Hall
By Jeff Hart Staff
DAWSONVILLE -- Dawson County held North Hall to just two points over the final 4:11 of the game and eventually held on for a 66-61 win Tuesday in a key Region 7-AAA girls contest for both teams.
The two teams came into the game separated by just one game with endless possibilities on seeding for next week’s region tournament. Both teams were battling with Banks County for second place.
However, the win for Dawson County (20-4, 9-4 Region 7-AAA) wraps up second place in the region and coach Steve Sweat said finishing strong is a must at the end of the season. The Lady Tigers had lost two straight region games before rebounding Tuesday.
“It’s definitely important to be playing well at this time of the year,” Sweat said. “I thought we played tonight like we had earlier in the year. But we knew it would be a battle. It was a close game the last time and they are a streaky shooting team. ”
Dawson County led by as many as 15 points in the first half and by a dozen midway through the third quarter. But the Lady Trojans (14-10, 7-6) got hot behind Kenzi Gillespie, who poured in 15 of her team-high 20 points in the second half, including four 3-pointers.
North Hall would use a 9-2 run to pull within 61-59 with 4:11 left before a scoreboard malfunction halted action for five minutes. The Lady Tigers used the break to regroup and allowed just one Allie Staub basket the rest of the way.
“That definitely killed some of our momentum,” North Hall coach Kristi House said. “But you have to battle through things like that.”
The Lady Trojans were trying to stay in the running for a top three spot having already lost to the Lady Tigers earlier in the season. They have now dropped three straight heading into Thursday’s season finale against powerhouse Buford on the road
House said they must find a way to regain their midseason momentum before the start of the region tournament. She said having Gillespie back at full-strength is a big plus.
“I thought we regrouped in the second half and played the way I think we can,” House said. “I like the way we’re playing. We just need to turn it into wins.
“Kenzi is just now 100 percent since her ankle injury. I think they way she played tonight is what she is capable of. If she can do that and we get the rest of the girls where they should be, we have a chance in the tournament.”
Dawson County used its distinct height advantage to great effect early in the game dominating the boards for three put-back baskets in the opening minutes. The Lady Tigers would extend its quick lead to 16-3 on a basket by Sheyenne Seabolt.
North Hall rallied to close the gap to 18-9 by the end of the first quarter on 3-pointers by Jordan Nix and Staub. After trading baskets for the first three minutes of the second quarter, Dawson County used a 10-3 run to take a 35-20 lead, its biggest of the half.
North Hall would cut the lead to 35-28 on a 3-pointer by Gillespie with 1:22 left in the half but the Lady Tigers would again answer with a 6-2 run to close out the half for a 41-30 halftime lead.
North Hall used its 3-point shooting to make a run in the second half. Nix would drain back-to-back treys to pull the Lady Trojans within 52-46 late in the third quarter and Gillespie would hit another to open the fourth to trim the lead to 54-49.
Gilreath would finish with a game-high 21 points, 15 coming in the second half to lead Dawson County. Seabolt had 19 points, with 15 of those coming in the first half. Ashley Parker added 12 for the Lady Tigers.
Nix finished with 14 points for North Hall.
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