Class A Private girls final: Mount Paran Christian 54, Hebron Christian 49

Mount Paran's Kara Dunn (5) celebrates with her mother and coach, Stephanie Dunn, after the Eagles' 54-49 victory over Hebron Christian is the Class A Private girls basketball championship game on March 12, 2022, at the Macon Coliseum.

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Mount Paran's Kara Dunn (5) celebrates with her mother and coach, Stephanie Dunn, after the Eagles' 54-49 victory over Hebron Christian is the Class A Private girls basketball championship game on March 12, 2022, at the Macon Coliseum.

Kara Dunn scored 10 of her game-high 30 points during a 13-2 run in the third quarter that turned the tide in what was a close game throughout and lifted Mount Paran Christian to a 54-49 victory over Hebron Christian in the Class A Private girls basketball championship game Saturday at the Macon Coliseum.

The championship was the first in program history for second-ranked Mount Paran and the fourth for head coach Stephanie Dunn, Kara’s mother. Stephanie Dunn led St. Pius to three state titles from 2004 to 2007.

Mount Paran won its final 13 games of the season after a 56-51 loss to Class 5A champion Woodward Academy on Jan. 15 and finished 25-4. Fourth-ranked Hebron Christian, the defending champion, ends the year at 27-5.

“They’re really hard, and they’re hard fought, and they take a lot of work for not just months but years,” the coach said of winning a title. “My five seniors have really bought in and put the work in. … They just bought in and believed that today could be today.”

Neither team led by more than seven at any point in the game, and Hebron Christian was up 28-24 after a layup by Aubrey Beckham with 7:12 remaining in the third quarter.

Kara Dunn, a Georgia Tech signee, answered with a basket in the paint, her first of eight consecutive points that ignited the game-turning rally. Katelyn Dunning then made three free throws after being fouled shooting a 3-pointer, and Dunn added a layup to give Mount Paran a 37-30 lead with 2:47 left in the quarter.

“Kara has been the kind of player that has been very selfless, and for two and a half quarters she was very selfless,” Stephanie Dunn said. “But she understood the moment, and she understood that she had the ability to score, to defend every position and score at different levels, whether it be inside, off the drive, shooting. She knows that she has those abilities, and she knew that we needed it. So she showed up and really made herself unstoppable.”

Hebron Christian got within two points on two free throws by Amiya Porter that made it a 44-42 game with 3:36 left. The Lions had opportunities to tie or take the lead in the next two minutes but were unable to pull even, and Dunning made four free throws in the final 42 seconds to secure the victory.

Dunning finished with nine points, all coming from the three-throw line on 9-of-13 shooting.

Beckham had 15 points and nine rebounds to lead Hebron Christian. Jessie Parrish had 15 points and seven rebounds, and Nicky Daniel went 7-for-8 from the free-throw line and finished with 11 points.

Mount Paran Christian - 7-15-17-15 - 54

Hebron Christian - 7-17-11-14 - 49

Mount Paran Christian (54): Kara Dunn 30, Katelyn Dunning 9, Kaylynn Kirklen 5, Jessica Fields 5, Kitali Youmans 3, Shamaria Jennings 2, Jacalyn Myrthil.

Hebron Christian (49): Jessie Parish 15, Aubrey Beckham 15, Nicky Daniel 11, Kayla Lane 6, Amiya Porter 2, Aniya Moodie, Malia Melton, Gabriela Lowe 0.