NEWARK, NJ -- The Columbia girls basketball team advanced in the first round of the Essex County Tournament with a 45-44 victory over Payne Tech on Saturday.

Bella Galatt scored 15 points for the Cougars (12-5), who rallied from a 39-32 deficit in the fourth quarter.

Corteney Provilon-Louis finished with 14 points for Columbia, which spent most of the game trying to rally back after Payne Tech (8-10) had taken a nine-point lead at the end of the first quarter.