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Signal Mountain's Olivia Koontz (45) guards Red Bank's Bailey Lee during a Best of Preps tournament semifinal Friday at Chattanooga State. / Staff photo by C.B. Schmelter

Following a similar script from their first meeting one month earlier, the Signal Mountain girls' basketball team used a late fourth-quarter rally to knock off rival Red Bank in Friday's Times Free Press Best of Preps semifinals.

After trailing by nine in the fourth, the Lady Eagles battled back to force overtime and then raced out to an eight-point lead and a 46-41 win.

"I'm not sure how we won, but I guess we just found a way," Lady Eagles coach Kendra Bell said. "I don't know that we could have shot it any worse for most of the game, but we always talk about how even when you're not shooting the ball well you can give great effort. That's what we did tonight — we just kept giving great effort — and I'm very proud of the way we never gave up."

Signal Mountain (12-3), which is in the championship game for a second straight season and looking for its first title, will face Baylor at 7 p.m. Saturday. The Lady Red Raiders (10-4) beat Sequatchie County 53-34 in Friday's other semifinal.

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Signal Mountain over Red Bank

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In their early December meeting with Red Bank, Signal Mountain rallied from a six-point deficit late, scoring the final 12 points to win. In Friday's rematch, the Lady Lions led from the midway point of the second quarter until the final two minutes of the game, when Signal Mountain used a 10-0 run to tie it and force overtime.

Jayliah Hardy scored seven of her 11 points in the final four minutes of regulation and totaled six assists, five rebounds and four steals. Lamiah Walker, who sealed the win with two free throws in the final seconds of overtime, led the Lady Eagles with 14 points and eight rebounds, and Olivia Koontz added 12 points and seven rebounds.

Arteya Scott's 16 points led Red Bank (12-4), which will face Sequatchie County at 4 p.m. Saturday for third place.

After struggling on offense for much of the first quarter, Baylor's shooters found their rhythm before halftime of their semifinal. A dominant second quarter helped the Lady Red Raiders pull away to a double-digit lead and eventually cruise past Sequatchie County.

Baylor missed out on playing in the tournament title game last season for the first time in six years but now has a chance to win its seventh BOP championship in eight years.

"I'm excited for the kids," Lady Red Raiders coach John Gibson said. "We're young so we have a lot on our team that hasn't gotten to experience the championship yet, and that's one of our goals every season."

Sequatchie County's early focus was set on preventing Raegyn Conley from getting open looks, and the box-and-one defense limited Baylor's talented junior to two field goals in the first quarter. However, she was able to get free for open shots in the second and, coupled with foul trouble for the Lady Indians (5-7), scored 12 of her game-high 21 points before halftime as Baylor turned a five-point lead early in the quarter into a 20-point cushion.

"Unfortunately we don't shoot the ball well early in games," Gibson said. "But once we make a couple, the confidence gets going, and it's kind of contagious for the whole team. It was good to see some other kids step up to make a few until we were able to get Raegyn going.

"The difference in the game was Raegyn getting in a groove. She can make teams pay in a hurry."

Contact Stephen Hargis at shargis@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6293. Follow him on Twitter @StephenHargis.

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