Hoopin’ it up: Dawson’s 41 helps MHS beat Warren

The beat goes on for Erica Dawson, who put 41 points on the board, including the first 16 of the game for Marietta, as the Lady Tigers defeated Warren 62-57 in a nail-biter at Sutton Gymnasium Wednesday night.

In a game that saw six lead changes in the second half, it was the Scott Cozzens-led Tigers who prevailed, outshooting Warren 40 percent to 33 percent.

Dawson, who broke Marietta’s all-time scoring record last week, added 41 to the total on 14-for-27 (52 percent) shooting. She outscored Warren 16-10 in the first quarter.

Taylor Smith’s bucket to open the second quarter was the first points by another Tiger, as Marietta took an 18-10 lead.

Dawson later scored consecutive baskets to give the Tigers their largest lead of the night at 29-18. A layup by Warren’s Taylor Foy and a 3-ball by Victoria Buzzard cut the deficit to 29-24. Lain Weppler hit a free throw followed by a trey from Luisa Barton to make it 33-24 at halftime.

Jordanna Rauch hit a 3-pointer to open up the second half. After Kristen Hill responded with a jumper for the Tigers, the Warriors scored 10 straight points, paced by four free throws from Rauch and a three point play from Amy Fleming, to take their first lead since early in the first quarter. A pair of Dawson free throws tied it back up at 37-37, before Mackenzie Ullman and Buzzard combined for four points to go up 41-37.

After Dawson and Ullman traded buckets, Dawson, Starr Johnson and Smith hit six straight free throws to go up 45-43 to close the third quarter.

Dawson and Hill kept it going in the fourth quarter with back-to-back 2-pointers to extend the lead to 49-44. Ullman then answered with a clutch 3-pointer to make it 49-47. After Dawson hit a layup, Rauch scored five straight points to put Warren back on top at 52-51.

After Dawson made another basket, Buzzard connected on a jumper to give Warren one last lead before Dawson finally hit the deciding shot in the final minutes to make it 55-54.

Dawson, Cozzens and Weppler would all hit free throws to put the game out of reach at 60-54.

“My main thing was to get to the hoop, and if they collapse on me which I expect them to do, then dump it off to my teammates underneath,” Dawson said. “A lot of times coach Cozzens just said to take it and go up strong with it and try to draw the fouls, and I ended up doing pretty well underneath tonight.”

“She’s done it for two years now,” Cozzens said. “Her team trusts her. They want the ball in her hands.

“Erica had a big night, and it won’t show up in the boxscore, but the other kids did make them pay in critical times.”

While Marietta improves to 7-1 this season, the Amy Colgrove-coach Lady Warriors have now lost three straight to go to 5-4, and will look to get back on track at Jackson Saturday.

“I thought we played well,” Colgrove said. “There were times where we broke down defensively and on the offensive end and that’s what hurt us ultimately. But for the most part, I thought we played pretty well.”

The Warriors opted not to defend Dawson as heavily as other teams, but rather focused on trying to shut down Marietta’s other players. “(Dawson’s) gonna get her points,” Colgrove explained. “There’s no point in throwing three or four people on her. She’s gonna get hers. We just wanted to limit everyone else.”

While the rest of Marietta was limited to 21 points, it was enough to put the Tigers over the top.

Although 7-1, it is very possible that Marietta’s best basketball has yet to come.

“I think we’re playing okay as a team,” Dawson said. “As the season goes on we’ll get into a flow and start playing better. We’re still not as fluid as I think we will be at the end of the season. So we have a lot to work on but I think we’ll get there.”

Buzzard led Warren with 15 points. Rauch had 12 and Ullman and Emma Ryan had 10 apiece. Ryan also led the Warriors with seven rebounds. Dawson and Weppler each had a game-high eight boards for Marietta, while Barton led everyone with three steals.