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GIRLS: Morris Catholic advances to Wonderland finals with win against Apex Friendship

CARY -- The Wonderland bracket has its first finalist.

Denville, N.J., Morris Catholic found separation in the second half on the way to a 51-32 victory over Apex Friendship. The Crusaders will play Friday in the championship game at Raleigh Broughton High School while the Patriots finish in the third-place game Thursday at 4 p.m. at Cary Academy.

The first half featured five lead changes and three ties with neither team taking an advantage greater than three. Apex Friendship's Jasmine Nivar used a 3-point play and another drive to help the Patriots take a 16-14 advantage, but Morris Catholic's Natalie Stoupakis answered with a 3-pointer as the Crusaders ultimately took a 19-16 lead into the break.

Kamaria Bowens started the third quarter with a 3-pointer for Morris Catholic and the Crusaders wouldn't trail again, stretching their advantage to as many as 19.

For Morris Catholic, Mia Pauldo had 11 points, seven assists and seven steals, Mya Pauldo had 11 points, four rebounds, four assists and three steals, while Alexis Rosenfield added 10 points and 12 rebounds. For Apex Friendship, Nivar had 11 points and six rebounds.

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