Then their chances started tumbling like the turnovers they committed -- four in a row near the end of the second quarter -- and the Lady Dragons exploded from 20-13 over a five-minute period to squeak into the lead at 27-26 with 1:25 remaining until the break.
Pepperell, who won the high school basketball contest 62-46, followed that up by putting some defensive shackles on the Lady Tigers in the third quarter -- allowing them to score just two points while raining 19 through the nets -- to take command of the game.
Head coach Kent Howard said the Lady Tigers started the game off fast but simply didn't keep it up. They led 16-8 after a quarter but punched just 10 points through the nets while the Lady Tigers accounted for 21 points in the second period.
"We got tired and careless," Howard said. "Along with getting tired and careless, we gave up a lot of offensive rebounds and second chances for points to them that we didn't get. They are a well coached, good team and they made the most of their opportunities.
"I think we've got the potential to be a good team, too, but we must learn to start fast, stay fast and end fast. If we think we can play well in spurts, we'll going to learn we can't win many games against good teams that way."
Adairsville did indeed get a quick start out of the starting gate against the Dragons, as Chelsi Riley started the scoring with a deuce about a minute into the game, followed by two from Mallorie Collum -- the first of her 24 on the evening -- before Pepperell got on the board at the 5:38 mark, to trail 4-2.
Collum then scored three points the old fashioned way, to open up a 7-2 lead, 10 seconds later, and followed it with another deuce that was matched by Riley for an 11-2 lead before the Lady Dragons cut into the differential with a two-pointer and two free throws by Caroline Holbrook to close to 11-6. Adairsville used a trey by Mallory Bramblett and two more by Howren to open a 16-6 lead. A bucket by Pepperell closed the score to 16-8 at the end of the first quarter.
Pepperell used a 7-4 to pull to 20-15 about two minutes into the second frame and the two teams were separated by about that many points until 2:41 remained, when Holbrook pitched in two points from the free throw line and Kiara Parks added two pairs, including a 6-footer that kissed the backboard gently before diving into the net and giving the Lady Dragons their first lead of the night at 27-26, a lead they never relinquished.
Adairsville scored the first bucket of the second half courtesy of Stephanie Kuhrt to close to 29-28. Pepperell responded with 19 unanswered points in the period and was up 48-28 after three quarters.
The Lady Tigers outscored Pepperell 18-14 in the final period.
Coach Howard said the Lady Tigers just kinda fell apart against Pepperell's pressure and the weak offensive rebounding let the visitors put together the victory.
"I thought we were in position to make plays, but they made a lot more plays than we did," he said.
The Lady Tigers dropped to 5-11, 1-5 in Region 7A-AA while Pepperell improved to 11-7, 4-3.
Scoring for Adairsville were Collum, 24; Kuhrt, 8; Howren, 5; Riley, 4, Mallory Bramblett, 3 and Olivia Towe, 2.
Adairsville next plays Friday when it entertains Rockmart. Tipoff is at 7 p.m.