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The Cougars take a two-point lead into the fourth quarter before falling 47-41 to Damascus

PMG PHOTO: DAVID BALL - Country Christians Lizzy Grandle, who would be named the leagues MVP, steps between a pair of Eagles on a drive through the lane.

Valley 10 title game

Team Score
#4 Damascus Christian
#7 Country Christian

PORTLAND — The Country Christian girls basketball team was minutes away from claiming the Valley 10 tournament title Saturday when No. 4-ranked Damascus Christian chased them down at the finish line to steal away a 47-41 win.

Country took charge out of the gates with four 3-pointers in the opening quarter, two of them by Madison Halverson, to take a 14-8 lead.

Damascus cut it to a one-possession game late in the second quarter, only to see Country's Lanie Barden hit a pair of 3s from the same spot on the left side of the floor to send the Cougars into halftime up 22-16.

"We had that pre-game hype going, and we came out and executed exactly the way we wanted," Barden said.

Country kept it rolling after the break when Lizzy Grandle drove through the lane and converted an underhand scoop shot for an eight-point lead — the Cougars' largest of the game.

"We shot the ball well and were primed to beat them today," Country coach Russell Halvorson said. "We were able to get the ball into the hands of the open kids, and they knocked down shots."

Damascus rushed back and edged in front 31-29 when Noelle Wakefield inbounded a ball along the baseline, then squeezed along the sideline to get it back for a quick turn-and-fire 3-pointer.

PMG PHOTO: DAVID BALL - Country Christians Lanie Barden dribbles down the sideline on a fastbreak during the Cougars 47-41 loss to Damascus Christian in the Valley 10 title game Saturday.

Halverson answered with a triple at the other end, and Grandle rushed down the sideline and was fouled at the third-quarter horn. She stepped alone to the free-throw line in front of a packed house and sank one of two, putting the Cougars up two heading into the fourth quarter.

Damascus put on its winning surge, doubling up Country 16-8 in the fourth. The Eagles pulled even when Emily Powers came up with a steal and turned it into a layup. On the Eagles next trip, McKenna Patrick came up with her first bucket of the night, a 12-footer from the baseline, to put Damascus on top to stay 37-35 as the clock ticked under four minutes.

"I saw that I was way open, so I went for it and prayed that I'd make it," Patrick said. "Once we had the lead, we were confident our defense could hold them."

Patrick played a part in that defensive effort, coming up with a steal that would lead to Powers finding Wakefield for a corner 3 and a commanding 42-35 lead with 2:40 to play.

PMG PHOTO: DAVID BALL - Country Christians Bella Huffstetler looks to make a pass into the post.

Damascus Christian's Julia Mitchell picked off a Country inbounds pass and zoomed down the floor only to stop herself as she took a dribble into the paint. She pulled the ball back out to the perimeter, and the Eagles took half-a-minute off the clock before the Cougars were forced to foul. Patrick sank two at the free-throw line for a 44-37 lead with barely a minute to play.

"It's a big court, and both teams were playing a lot of full-court defense, and I think we just lost our legs at the end," Russell Halverson said.

The Valley 10 tournament is played on a college court at Multnomah University.

Country (18-9) scored a lopsided 50-27 win over Southwest Christian two days earlier in the tournament and enter the 1A playoffs as the No. 2 team out of the Valley 10. The Cougars host South Wasco County in a first-round game at 6 p.m. Tuesday, and with a win they would go on the road to face a league champion on Friday night.

Grandle was announced as the Valley 10's Most Valuable Player during post-game awards.

"It's such an honor. I'm totally blown away," Grandle said. "Everyone on our team has worked their tail off, and everyone has played their part."

View photos at ...

Valley 10 title game

COUNTRY 14 8 11 8 — 41

DAMASCUS 8 8 15 16 — 47

Country Christian (41) — Lanie Barden 11, Madison Halverson 11, Lizzy Grandle 11, Bafford 5, Burruel 3, Syphard, Huffstetler, Begley, Shelton.

Damascus Christian (47) — Emily Powers 18, Wakefield 14, Mitchell 7, Patrick 4, Love 2, Hale 2, Bailey.

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