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Pauldos power Crusaders to MCT crown

Mia Pauldo of Morris Catholic pressures Chatham's McKenna Hogan in the 2024 MCT Final. Photos by Sandy Seegers Mia Pauldo of Morris Catholic pressures Chatham's McKenna Hogan in the 2024 MCT Final.
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RANDOLPH _ Morris Catholic freshman Jacqueline Edelman had been here before. Sort of.

That's why Edelman, a 6-foot guard/forward, is accustomed to the fanfare and hoopla surrounding high-pressure games, like the Morris County Girls Basketball Tournament final on Friday, Feb. 16.

"I wasn't really nervous. No. Barely," said Edelman, a resident of Augusta. "I've played in thousands of games."

That may have been a slight exaggeration but, no doubt about it, Edelman is beyond battle tested. Still, each time she takes to the hardwood, she's thrilled and motivated to make memories. And, the top-seeded Crusaders' 73-41 victory over Chatham in the MCT title game will be one of the highlights of her first year in high school.

Morris Catholic (23-0) notched its third consecutive MCT championship and 15th overall. Mia and Mya Pauldo had 20 points apiece and combined for nine 3-pointers for the Crusaders. Kennedy Brown added eight and Edelman was one of three players with six. The No. 2 Cougars received received 15 points from Addison Barrett and 11 from Ella Kreuzer.

"I think winning this is so amazing," said Edelman, whose last-second putback boosted Morris Catholic over DME Academy of Fla. at the Mecca Showcase in the Bronx three weeks ago. "We all worked so hard for this. We came out with a lot of energy and our defense was good. We limited them and made sure we guarded their best players."

After the first eight minutes, Morris Catholic built a 19-7 advantage. With two minutes to go in the opening period, the Crusaders were up, 12-2. Mya Pauldo and Kennedy Brown fueled the quick start by teaming for 13 points. By halftime, the score was 37-12. Chatham had its share open shots but was unable to capitalize.

"It was routine stuff," Mya Pauldo said. "We kept our energy up. We got here early, around 5 o'clock, so we could get ready."

Coach Billy Lovett was pleased, of course, that Morris Catholic was able to send its MCT streak to three.

"We're pretty good. Solid," Lovett said. "We've been through the wars and never doubted ourselves. We have to keep them focused and prepared for the games. Rahim (Huland El), oneof our assistants, takes care of that."

Chatham (22-3) had a superb third quarter, outscoring the Crusaders by one, 16-15. The surge was keyed by Barrett, who scored all of her points in the second half. Her field goal from the top of the key 2:27 after the break brought the Cougars within 17 points, 37-20, but they would get no closer.

Not long after securing the MCT crown, Morris Catholic turned its sights to its game against Long Island Lutheran (N.Y.).

"We're not satisfied," said Mia Pauldo, the MVP. "We have a lot to do as players and as a team. We're excited about tonight. The energy in the gym. The student section gave us love. And, now, we have a game against the No. 2 team in the country."

In addition to Mia Pauldo, the MCT All-Tournament team was comprised of Mya Pauldo, Barrett and Kreuzer of Chatham and Maya Summerville of Morristown.

Last modified onWednesday, 17 April 2024 08:29
Sandy Seegers

Sandy will post her bio soon

More in this category: « MCT 2024 Final: Crusaders, Chatham

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