Evangel wins ACSC tournament title

The Evangel Christian Lightning won their third Alabama Christian Sports Conference tournament championship for the third time in four years Feb. 16 at Samford Univiersity. (Contributed)

The Evangel Christian Lightning won their third Alabama Christian Sports Conference tournament championship for the third time in four years Feb. 16 at Samford Univiersity. (Contributed)

FROM STAFF REPORTS

Evangel Christian overcame a sluggish first quarter to defeat rival Hope Christian 32-24 in the championship game of the Alabama Christian Sports Conference tournament at Samford University on Feb. 16.

The Lightning trailed 7-1 after the first quarter, but outscored the Eagles 21-5 through the second and third quarters en route to their third ACSC tournament championship in the last four years.

Last year, Hope beat top-seeded Evangel in the championship game, after the Lightning had won the regular season championship with an undefeated record. This year, Evangel returned the favor, coming in as the third seed and winning over the regular season champs from Hope.

Madison Thames led the way for Evangel with 12 points while Lacey Entrekin added nine points and seven rebounds. Anna Byers pulled down 11 rebounds.

Hope Christian’s Christina Jones paced the Eagles with 10 points.

Evangel had advanced to the finals after riding the play of Byers and Bethany Letson to a hard-fought 32-29 win over second-seeded Evangel Family Christian Academy of Montgomery in the semi-finals on Feb. 15. Byers had 13 points, 16 rebounds and six steals, while Letson added 11 points, including 7-of-0 free throws. Kristen Free paced EFCA with nine points.

Byers was named the MVP of the tournament, while Letson joined Christina Jones and Joelle Reed of Hope, Kristen Free of Evangel Family, and Mary Helen Boykin of Tuscaloosa on the all-tournament team.

In regular season conference awards given at the tournament, Byers and Entrekin were named first-team all-ACSC, and Letson was named second -team all-conference.

Jones from Hope also earned first team all-ACSC honors, while fellow Eagles Lindy Walker, Erin Douglas and Karlee Tate were named second team. Douglas was honored with the conference’s Christian Character Award.