Dalton High School's boys basketball team locked down on defense in the second half and sweated out overtime to down Northwest Whitfield 58-54 in Dalton Thursday.
In that overtime frame, the Catamounts (11-12, 6-8 Region 5-6A) held the ball on their end of the floor for nearly the first two minutes of the period, before Grayson Boyd finally shook free for a 3-pointer to put Dalton up 53-50 over Northwest (11-9, 5-6 Region 7-4A).
Ashton Blackwell added a few late free throws, and, despite baskets from Northwest's Payton Baker and Collin Hall, Dalton held on for the win.
It was the second contest of the year between the two cross-county foes, and it was the second that came down to the final moments.
Northwest took that first game, which was last month in Tunnel Hill, on a Jack Brock 3-pointer just before time ran out in the fourth quarter.
On Thursday, it looked like the Bruins could be headed for a season sweep of the Catamounts. After the first quarter ended in a tie at 13, the Bruins offense exploded in the second quarter, led by eight second-quarter points apiece from Baker and Will Buckner. The Bruins sprinted out to a 36-29 advantage at the break, punctuated by a Brock swish from behind the 3-point arc at the buzzer.
Dalton, though, turned the game around in the third with lockdown defense, steals and easy baskets. The Catamounts quickly tied it at 38-38 by scoring nine of the first 11 points of the third.
Dalton led Northwest by one at the end of the third, then the teams combined for just nine points in the fourth as Dalton was content to bleed the clock down when they had the lead and the ball.
The Catamounts remained at a 50-49 advantage for much of the last three minutes, but Northwest's Owen Brooker was finally fouled with 30 seconds remaining. He made the first free throw to tie the game, but missed the second. Northwest got the offensive rebound and held for the final shot, but Chandler Jackson's driving layup was swatted out of bounds by Dalton's Franklin Almonte.
Blackwell was the leading scorer for Dalton from his spot at point guard with 20 points. Almonte scored 17, while Boyd tallied 11 points. Baker led Northwest with 15 points, and Brock netted nine.
Northwest Whitfield 49, Dalton 38
Dalton (8-14, 5-9 Region 5-6A) made a late run to shrink the Northwest Whitfield (10-9, 9-2 Region 7-4A) lead, but the Lady Bruins held on for the 49-38 win in Dalton Thursday.
Northwest built a 20-point lead in the fourth quarter, but the Lady Catamounts began to chip away at the advantage, primarily after Northwest had removed their starters.
The Lady Cats created havoc, turnovers and 3-pointer opportunities late, cutting the score to single-digits, but a few key free throws from Northwest's Callie White helped to steady the game.
Northwest's Autumn Wiley led a balanced Bruin offense with 10 points and nine rebounds, while McKenzie Brueckner, Whitley Chumley and Courtney Jones each had nine.
The game was the regular season finale for Dalton, and Northwest finishes up its schedule tonight at 6 by hosting Heritage.