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Lady Cougars win championship

The Grace Christian Academy Lady Cougars are Panhandle Christian Conference Eastern Regional Basketball Tournament champions.

They won the title Saturday afternoon with a 47-38 East Region championship game victory over the Covenant Christian School Lady Lions from Panama City, Fla., at Grace’s Perry Memorial Gymnasium.

The Grace Cougars, who were led by Paul Randall Soden with 18 points, bowed out of the East Regional Tournament with a 58-52 Friday morning overtime loss to the Gateway Christian Academy Lions from Bonifay, Fla.

The Lady Cougars reached their tournament championship game with a 55-34 Saturday morning victory over the Emanuel Christian School Lady Warriors from Dothan, Ala.

They will open Conference Final 4 play Friday at 6 p.m. when they take on the still to-be-determined second-place team from the Western half of the conference at Emanuel in Dothan.

Emanuel will host the third- and fourth-place Final 4 game Saturday at 10 a.m. The Final 4 championship game will Saturday at 1 p.m.

The Lady Cougars took the early lead in Saturday afternoon’s championship game against the Lady Lions. They increased their lead to 8-2 when Brock Bailey, who scored 9 points against Covenant and 19 points against Emanuel and earned tournament most valuable player honors, hit a layup off the right glass with 4:11 left in the first quarter.

The Lady Lions followed with 6 points to pull even 8-8. First Rachel Phelps grabbed a rebound and stuck it back in at the 3:51 mark to cut it to 8-4, then she hit a jumper at the 3:11 mark to cut it to 8-6. Katelyn Robinson got the Lady Lions even 8-8 when she hit a jumper from in close at the 2:12 mark.

Jasmin Kelly grabbed a rebound and laid it back in off the left glass with 1:33 remaining to put the Lady Cougars back ahead 10-8.

Trailing 20-14 with just over three minutes remaining in the second quarter, the Lady Cougars outscored the Lady Lions 8-0 the rest of the quarter to take a 22-20 halftime lead.