Lafayette Christian wins region championship
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
WOODBURY – Short-handed and playing a determined opponent in hostile territory, the Lafayette Christian School Cougars found a way.
Facing home-standing Flint River Academy in the region-championship game on Friday night, Lafayette Christian earned a thrilling 50-48 overtime victory.
Lafayette Christian will host a Georgia Association of Private & Parochial Schools first-round state-tournament game on Tuesday at 5 p.m.
By the end of Friday’s game the Lady Cougars were down to four players after two players had fouled out, but they hung on for the dramatic win.
In overtime, Lafayette Christian was down by two when Savanna Bryant knocked down a go-ahead 3-pointer with less than two minutes remaining.
Moments later, Carmen Bridges fouled out, leaving the Lady Cougars with just four players with about 90 seconds left to play.
Nonetheless, the Lady Cougars made the plays they needed to down the stretch.
The lead grew to three when Juleigh Haynes knocked down two clutch free throws with less than a minute to play.
After a Flint River miss, Haynes made two more free throws, making it a five-point game with six seconds to play.
Flint River made a 3-pointer at the buzzer to make it a two-point margin of victory.
“We had our share of mistakes, but when we had to make a key basket, or a free throw, or get a key rebound, we were fortunate enough to do it,” said Lafayette Christian head coach Rene Gomez. “We just thank God that we were able to get out of here with a win.”
Carmen Bridges had a monster game for Lafayette Christian with 23 points, and she also pulled down more than 20 rebounds. Haynes added 11 points and was 4-of-4 on free throws in the fourth quarter, and Hana Stevens and Savanna Bryant added six points apiece.
Freshman Leah Ward didn’t score, but she provided a critical contribution in a game were the Lady Cougars were in foul trouble.