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Marquette Catholic vs. Vincennes Rivet in Class A championship

Marquette Catholic hoists the Class A championship trophy after defeating Vincennes Rivet 57-36 Saturday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

INDIANAPOLIS — When Marquette Catholic senior guard Morgan Crook brought the ball upcourt in the third quarter, it seemed the Blazers would pull the ball out and stay patient.

Marquette already held a 35-19 lead, and Vincennes Rivet cut off Crook's lane to the basket. One fan yelled, “Easy!” as Crook turned away from the hoop and fed senior forward Sophia Nolan at the top of the key, the rest of the Blazers ready to set up the offense.

Instead, Nolan caught and fired, knocking down her fourth 3-pointer of the game, sending the navy blue Blazers crowd into a frenzy. It was one of those days for Nolan — the kind when any shot is a good one. Nolan scored 26 points, grabbed 15 rebounds and shot 4 of 4 from 3 as the Blazers rolled to their second straight Class A state title with a 57-36 win in their rematch with Vincennes Rivet.

Marquette Catholic vs. Vincennes Rivet in Class A championship

Marquette Catholic's Morgan Crook looks to pass Saturday during the Class A championship game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

“This year, as soon as I stepped on the floor, I knew I was gonna have a good game,” Nolan said. “The rims felt nice, and the floor was nice, so I knew I was gonna have a good game. … I'm glad we finished the way we did, too. I think to play with these girls for all four years and come out with two state titles is really exciting.”

The Blazers went to their two senior stars immediately, as Sophia Nolan fed twin sister Emma with a high-low pass for an easy finish. Each of Marquette's first three possessions involved the patented Nolan high-low with the Blazers alternating who threw the pass and who caught the ball in the paint, and smiles dotted Marquette's sideline even before it raced out to a lead.

The Patriots' defense settled in and kept the ball out of the paint for most of the first quarter, but that didn't matter once the second quarter started. Morgan Crook opened the period with a 3, and Claire Salyer added another the next time down after Sophia Nolan swatted a Patriots jumper. Marquette Catholic wrested control with a 15-1 run spanning the end of the first quarter and much of the second, even as Emma Nolan headed to the bench with her second foul just under five minutes before halftime.

In Emma's absence, Sophia did everything. She added a pair of paint buckets, multiple contested rebounds and dove to the floor for a loose ball that gave the Blazers possession with 35 seconds left in the half. Marquette took a 27-13 lead into halftime.

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“I always know that when I make mistakes, Sophie's gonna be there to step up,” Emma Nolan said. “So that's a big key to how we won today. I wasn't really nervous when I got that second foul, because I knew Sophia and the rest of the team would step up.”

Marquette Catholic vs. Vincennes Rivet in Class A championship

Marquette Catholic reacts after defeating Vincennes Rivet 57-36 in the Class A title game Saturday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

Even after a halftime chat, Vincennes Rivet couldn't stop Sophia Nolan. She opened the third quarter with a step-back 3 over an outstretched Patriot hand before adding another after curling off a screen. Then, she added a contested lefty layup at the rim to give the Blazers a 35-17 lead. By the end of the third quarter, Sophia had 24 points and had galvanized the Blazers' bench — Nolan averaged 17.4 per game coming in.

The Patriots cut Marquette's lead to 18 midway through the fourth but never threatened, as the Blazers held them to 27.8 percent shooting. Emma Nolan added 12 points and three blocks while Sophia Nolan tallied four blocks and three steals as the Blazers suffocated Vincennes Rivet's offense — Marquette held Patriots star forward Grace Waggoner, the Mental Attitude Award winner, to nine points on 4 of 18 shooting.

Blazers coach Katie Collignon removed her seniors in waves late in the game to standing ovations from the Marquette crowd, as the Blazers became the first Region team to go back-to-back since Crown Point in 1984 and 1985.

“Everyone knows I have a large senior class this year, and I think they wanted this last game to be their best game,” Collignon said. “You never want to look back and have any regrets or say, 'Well, our junior year was great, but we lost our senior year.' I think they all took that to heart.”

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Porter County Sports Reporter

Robbie Weinstein covers Porter County prep sports and Valparaiso University athletics for The Times. You can find the Vanderbilt University and Northwestern University grad posted up on the nearest field of play or in front of the TV.