Southeast tried to make a fourth-quarter comeback, with back-to-back 3-pointers from Parris and Collins cutting the Dalton lead back to 56-52 with 2:01 remaining, but the Lady Cats went 6-for-8 from the free-throw line in the final 1:33 to seal the win.
Parris led all scorers with 17 points, and Collins added 14 for the Lady Raiders. Guard Brooke Thomas had 16 to lead Dalton, while Maddie Howell finished with 15 and Sarah Stinnett added 10.
“We are playing hard and getting better, and that is what I like,” McKinney said. “At Christmas we were in a little lull, but we didn’t flinch. I feel like we are getting better and better each night, and that is a good thing to have happening.”
• Dalton boys 77, Southeast 52: Senior guard Alex Bautista finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds, and the Cats pressured the Raiders into 14 first-half turnovers as they cruised to the sub-region win.
Defensive intensity helped the Cats (14-4, 4-1) jump out to a 12-2 lead in the first quarter. The Raiders (3-15, 2-3) kept it close until the half, when they trailed 37-23.
Dalton coach Mike Duffie asked his team for a little more in the second half.
“We came out the first three minutes playing great but couldn’t finish a play,” Duffie said. “We weren’t playing bad, but I thought our pressure took a step back. We turned it up there (in the second half) where we got a little more consistent pressure.”
The Cats built on that lead with a 13-2 run, going ahead 49-25 some two minutes into the third quarter.
“We knew we needed to handle the pressure a little better, with the turnovers in the first half,” Southeast coach Jake Dickey said. “The pressure got to us tonight, and we have to continue to get better.”
Dalton’s Rico Mears put in another solid effort with 10 points, eight rebounds and six assists, while Demond Rucker added 10 points and six rebounds.
Chaz Payne led Southeast in scoring with 16.
— Correspondent Dave Gordon contributed to this story.