DAWSONVILLE —Coaches always want their teams to be playing their best come playoff time.
With only six region games remaining on Dawson County’s schedule, it’s apparent that Tigers’ boys basketball coach Thad Burgess has his team poised for a lengthy postseason run.
Dawson County (14-5, 4-1 Region 8B-AA) is currently riding a 10-game win streak and hasn’t lost since December 14, a loss that came by way of a last-second layup as the Tigers fell to Class AA’s sixth-ranked Fannin County 42-40.
Tonight the two are set to square off again in Blue Ridge with the winner in the driver’s seat for the subregion championship.
"It’s definitely a big game, but it’s not do or die," Burgess said. "The good thing is that we have already went around our subregion and if you win out, you’ll probably win our subregion. It’s at their place, and it’ll be tough for us to travel up there on a Friday night, but I feel like we’ve got a good chance.
"If we can pull it off (tonight), then it will set us up nicely entering the final stretch of the season."
Last season, the Tigers won both meetings against Fannin County (17-11, 6-1).
"They’re (Fannin County) so talented," Burgess said. "They play 12 seniors, and that always presents a challenge. Coach Johnny Farmer has won state championships with the girls, and he’s gone in and given the boys a tough mentality."
Dawson County, which prides itself on presenting a balanced attack nightly, is led by senior guard Robert O’Quinn, who is averaging nearly 14 points per game.
"That loss to Fannin County before really woke us up," O’Quinn said. "I really want to beat Fannin County (tonight). That will put us back in first place, where I feel we should be, and I really think we are better than them."
Burgess says the Tigers have tried to remain as focused as can be on the upcoming challenge, while keeping things normal at practice.
"We really haven’t done anything differently," Burgess added.
On the season, the Tigers are 4-2 against teams from higher classifications, and a pair of wins againstClass AAAAA’s Forsyth Central.
"We tried to go the other way rather than a lot of the teams in our region," Burgess said. "Most of the teams we play go up and play teams like Towns County, but we tried to go south. We played Forsyth Central twice, and North Forsyth twice. They aren’t great, great schools, but they play a lot of teams who are real competitive, and I think it’s helped us out a great deal. We wanted to play big schools so when we go to play schools like Fannin and Union and they have the big crowds."
Senior Zach Cook added that the loss hasn’t left his memory, and he wants to make a statement tonight.
"It was a heartbreaker," Cook said. "We’re on a roll right now, and we hope to keep it going. We’re going to penetrate the lane and try to get it out to our wing players Robert (O’Quinn) and Lee (Little) and get them some open shots and hopefully we’ll be on like we have the last couple of games."