North Whitfield Middle School’s seventh-grade girls had a chance to finish off a perfect season Thursday at Dalton. The Lady Cougars, who lost to the Lady Pioneers earlier in the season, would have none of that.

Behind a game-high 21 points from Annalee Houston, the Lady Cougars held off North Whitfield’s frantic surge in the final seconds to post a 44-43 victory.

Dalton and North Whitfield finish the regular season with identical 11-1 records. Dalton won a coin toss earlier in the day and will go into the postseason tournament next week with the No. 1 seed. North Whitfield is No. 2.

“We’re in first place,” Houston said after the game. “And we ruined their undefeated season. I’m happy and excited.”

Dalton led 32-21 in the third quarter, but North Whitfield’s Amanda Rector’s field goal cut the Lady Cougars advantage to 32-29 early in the fourth period.

Dalton was up 37-36 and went on a 7-0 run, the first six points coming from April Beasley, and led 44-36 with 1:24 left.

The Lady Pioneers outscored the Lady Cougars 7-0 the rest of the way and had a 3-point shot at the buzzer to win, but the ball bounced off the rim.

“We showed a lot of character,” Dalton coach Marc Hefner said. “We could have hung our heads and gave it to them, but we hung in and weathered the storm.”

The difference came from the free-throw line. Dalton made 16 of 28 and North Whitfield hit just 4 of 16.

“They played good and we didn’t,” said North Whitfield coach Denise Pendley, whose team led only once at 16-15. “But you have to give them credit.”

Sydney Roberts led North Whitfield with 18 points, 10 in the third quarter, and Amanda Rector tossed in 14.

April Beasley added eight points for Dalton.



Eighth grade girls

North Whitfield 50, Dalton 32: The Lady Cougars cut the Lady Pioneers’ lead to 37-28 in the fourth quarter, but North Whitfield outscored Dalton 13-4 in the final 3:50 to post the impressive win and finish the season at 11-1.

“We’ve got a pretty good team,” said Pendley, who also coaches the eighth-grade girls. “We pushed the ball up the floor and the girls were ready to play. It’s a fun group. I hope we’re ready for the tournament now.”

North Whitfield is the No. 1 seed while Westside is No. 2.

“North Whitfield is clearly the best team in the league,” Dalton coach Jill Ross said. “They have the complete package.”

Alex Warren led the Lady Pioneers with 14 points, Shelby Whitfield added 12 and Emily Trew had eight.

Kathryn Sigmon and Hannah Duffie each had eight points for Dalton (6-6).



Seventh grade boys

Dalton 47, North Whitfield 35: The Cougars polished off a 12-0 season behind the 14 points of Tate Howell and Toombs Norman’s 13.

Zavian Addison led the Pioneers (3-9) with 12 points and Adam Coker contributed eight points.



Eighth grade boys

North Whitfield 41, Dalton 30: Ryan Logan and Nerman Delic each scored 12 points as the Pioneers posted their 13th win in 14 games this season while avenging an earlier loss this season to the Cougars.

Jordan Darnell added seven points for North Whitfield.

The Pioneers and Dalton are both 11-1 in regular season league play. North Whitfield won the coin toss earlier in the day and earned the No. 1 seed for the tournament.

Tevin Collins led the Cougars with 16 points, Kelly Phillips had seven and Eric Green five.



Swimming

Dalton boys 133, Notre Dame 106, Holy Innocents 53: Nelson Rhinehart, Jeremy Jackson and Trey Tharpe each won two individual events and swam on two winning relay teams to lead the Cats (16-1).

Rhinehart won the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:59.79 and the 100 butterfly (58.96.

Jackson took the 200 individual medley (2:04.82) and 100 breaststroke (1:04.09).

Tharpe captured the 500 freestyle (5:09.26) and 100 backstroke (54.52).

Tharpe, Jackson, Rhinehart and Alec Jordan swam a winning 1:47.89 in the 200 medley relay.

In the 400 freestyle relay, Rhinehart, Jackson, Zach Broome and Tharpe turned in a winning time of 3:48.20.

Chris Black won the diving with a 188.10.

Notre Dame girls 153, Holy Innocents 90, Dalton 45: Megan Black won the diving with a score of 123.40 for the Lady Cats.



Riflery

Dalton High, getting personal bests from Michael Finn and Iman Soliman, post a score of 993 to beat LaFayette (853), Murray County (688) and Ringgold (662) in a meet at Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe’s range.

Marilynn Martin shot 261 while Alex Wein had 243, Finn 252 and Soliman 237 for the Cats (17-3-1).

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