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MCT 2024 Final: Crusaders, Chatham

MCT 2024 Final: Crusaders, Chatham Photos by Maryann Harlow
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RANDOLPH _The fantasy novel Madison Miller held in her hand said it all and more...

"A Court of Wings and Ruin."

The title of the 736-page book can be applied to Morris Catholic's season, one in which it has ruled the hardwood, leaving opposing teams reeling with their ability to crush opponent's hopes.

Morristown, which fell behind early but rallied to come within eight points 3:19 after halftime, was the 21st team to experience the Crusaders' relentlessness. The Colonials had exceptional stretches but were defeated 70-38 by top-seeded and defending champion Morris Catholic in a Morris County Tournament semifinal on Friday, Feb. 9.

In the other semifinal, second-seeded Chatham secured a 45-29 victory over Jefferson led by double-figures efforts by Ella Kreuzer and Addison Barrett, who had 14 and 10 points, respectively. The MCT final between the Cougars and Crusaders is set for Friday, Feb. 16 at 7 p.m. at the County College of Morris.

"We did it on the defensive end," Morris Catholic coach Billy Lovett said. "We talked about getting stops. We got one stop at a time. And Mia Pauldo is Mia Pauldo. We executed in the blink of an eye."

The Colonials put together a 10-point run that bridged the second and third periods and cut the Crusaders' lead from 18 points to eight, 28-20. Cameron McGinley and Caroline Condon had four points each in the burst in which Morris Catholic did not score for 6:30.

However, just like that, the Crusaders went into high gear, pressing to stave off Morristown's surge. Morris Catholic (21-0) turned up its "D" and Mia Pauldo, a junior guard, and her twin sister, Mya, tallied the next eight baskets. Mia Pauldo had 14 points, six off 3-pointers, both from the left corner, and Mya had five. Fifty five seconds into the fourth quarter, the Crusaders were up, 48-27, having outscored the Colonials, 20-7.

"I think we lost focus and didn't get back on defense," said Colonials senior Maya Summerville. "Collectively, we had a dip in defense."

Miller said the press enabled Morris Catholic "to get a lot of steals, transition baskets and easy points."

Morristown continued to battle despite the intense showing by the Crusaders. With 50.8 seconds left in the third period, Summerville connected for a 16-foot jumper to leave the Colonials trailing, 38-27. McGinley had points of her team-high 15 points in the fourth quarter for Morristown.

"I'm so proud of our girls," Colonials coach Jim Pisciotto said. "We got the score to single digits with the No. 1 team in the state. Suddenly, the eights points (we were behind by) went to 16 and 18. They came at us in waves."

Morris Catholic converted 8-of-14 field goals in the opening quarter to pull in front, 19-4. Alexis Rosenfeld and Mia Pauldo scored six points apiece for the Crusaders in that eight-minute stanza.

***Please check back for photo gallery***

Last modified onSunday, 11 February 2024 23:42
Sandy Seegers

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