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Morris Catholic routs Purcell Marian for girls' title

RALEIGH -- Morris Catholic is nationally ranked for a reason.

The Crusaders never trailed in a 64-44 victory over Purcell Marian in the championship game of the John Wall Invitational Wonderland Bracket. Morris Catholic used a big first-half run to establish control and never looked back.

Consecutive 3-pointers from Daniella Matus and Natalie Stoupakis opened the game for Morris Catholic. Purcell Marian got within 10-6, but the Crusaders took all momentum with a 7-minute, 14-0 run between the first and second quarters. Matus hit another 3-pointer to end the half, giving Morris Catholic a 34-18 advantage.

The Crusaders extended the lead early in the third with a Mia Pauldo 3-pointer to make it 37-18, but the Cavaliers went on a run. Purcell Marian scored nine straight and McKenzie Jones' free throw whittled the deficit to 10.

Morris Catholic wouldn't allow the deficit to reach single digits, rectifying the pace and ending the third with another Pauldo 3-pointer to make it 54-35. The Crusaders led by as much as 21 to ensure their first John Wall Invitational was a perfect run.

For Morris Catholic, Mya Pauldo had 20 points, three assists and two steals, Matus had 12 points and four rebounds, Alexis Rosenfeld provided 12 points and 10 rebounds, and Mia Pauldo added 10 points, five assists and six steals. For Purcell Marian, Dee Alexander has 20 points and eight rebounds.

The girls' all-tournament team was announced after the game. Mya Pauldo won MVP and Alexander took home Most Outstanding Player honors. Mia Pauldo and Matus also made the team, along with North Pitt's Zamareya Jones, Apex Friendship's Jasmine Nivar, Legacy Early College's Mela Holloway, Panther Creek's Madisyn Jordan, Millbrook's Reychel Douglas and Salisbury's Kyla Bryant.

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