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State time for Lady Cougars

By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY

Daily News

Coming off an emotional overtime victory over Flint River, the Lafayette Christian School girls’ basketball team will begin its quest for a state championship on Tuesday.

Lafayette Christian, which beat Flint River 50-48 in overtime to capture a region championship on Friday, will host a first-round game in the Georgia Association of Private & Parochial Schools Division 1-AAA state tournament.

Lafayette Christian’s opponent on Tuesday at 5 p.m.

will be Rock Springs Christian Academy, which finished fourth in its region.

If Lafayette Christian beats Rock Springs, it will host a second-round game on Friday against Killian Hill Christian School, and the winner of that game advances to the state semifinals.

The Lady Cougars earned a number one seed with a dramatic win in Woodbury.

Savanna Bryant hit a 3-pointer in overtime to give the Lady Cougars the lead, and Juleigh Haynes was 4-of-4 on free-throw attempts in the closing moments.

The Lady Cougars finished the game with only four players on the court, but they still managed to hold off a determined opponent playing in its own gym.

“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 continued her outstanding season by scoring 23 points and pulling down more than 20 rebounds, Haynes added 11 points and was clutch from the free-throw line in overtime, and Hana Stevens and Bryant added six points apiece.

Freshman Leah Ward, who provided key minutes late after two of the Lady Cougars’ six players fouled out, provided a key contribution as well.

“She played so big for us defensively,” Gomez said of Ward. “She got a key steal in overtime, and did not turn the ball over. She’s not going to give us any points, she’s going to play tough-as-nails defense, and when we needed her to step up, she did.”