Amber-Pocasset's Austin Carpenter looks to make a play on offense during Friday's win over Alex. The Panthers defeated the Longhorns in Alex.

ALEX — The Amber-Pocasset Panthers are heading back to the Grady County Tournament championship game.

Class 2A No. 12 Am-Po battled Class A No. 16 Alex in Alex on Friday. The Panthers came away with a 45-43 victory and advanced to the championship game for the first time since 2019.

The Longhorns went up 15-6 in the second quarter after going on a 6-0 scoring run, but the Panthers responded with a run of their own. Am-Po scored the next 11 points to take a 17-15 lead over its opponent.

Alex’s Chase Byrne scored right before the buzzer to tie the game at 17 points apiece. Am-Po held a 25-23 lead going to the fourth quarter.

The fourth quarter belonged to Am-Po’s Austin Carpenter. Carpenter scored 12 of his 17 points in the period to help the Panthers hold off the Longhorns.

With the win over Alex in the semifinals, Am-Po now has the chance to win its first GCT title since 2018. Am-Po defeated Minco in the title game that season.

Am-Po advanced to the semifinal game by beating the Ninnekah Owls in overtime. Am-Po will now face the Dibble Demons in the championship game.

The two teams will play in Rush Springs, and the game will start at 7:30 p.m.

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