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Mount Zion's AJ Davis moves the ball up the court during the Braves' 61-42 regional win against Paris on Monday. Online gallery at

MOUNT ZION -- It took some time for Mount Zion to remember how to beat an old Apollo foe, but the Braves didn't look back once they finally found their rhythm.

For the first half, Paris and Mount Zion battled back and forth. But for the second, the Braves certainly looked like that team that won their last four games of the regular season, taking a 61-42 victory in the Class 3A Mount Zion Regional quarterfinals.

After a lackluster first half, the Braves couldn't have started the second half much better.

"We came out with a 12-0 run to start the third quarter thanks to our defense, and that boosted our offense with some easy transition baskets," Mount Zion coach Ryan Brown said. "We didn't look back from there."

Payton Grinestaff once again led scoring for the Braves, finishing well inside as five different Mount Zion players had a 3-pointer on the night. Add in 12-for-16 free-throw shooting, and the Braves shot well, especially in the last 16 minutes.

"The first half we were a little tense, and we missed a ton of shots we would normally make," Brown said.

Mount Zion outscored Paris 41-18 in the final two quarters. Austin Thacker, Jordan Horath and AJ Davis each added 11 points to give the Braves four players in double-figures.

It's not an easy road to a regional championship for Mount Zion. Up next is Lincoln (24-6), but there are a couple of factors that could help point things the Braves' way.

Lincoln is coming off one of its worst performances of the season against Chatham Glenwood where the Railers lost 54-38 to cap off the regular season. Plus, Mount Zion has the luxury of playing on its home floor. That game tips off at 6 p.m. tonight.

The second half of the regional double-header is a rematch between MacArthur and Eisenhower, which starts at approximately 7:30 p.m. The Panthers won last Friday 75-68.

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