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PARK HILLS – The Farmington girls basketball team had 10 players score, and five reached double figures while earning a spot in the MAAA tournament title game on Thursday.

Claire Busse notched a game-high 14 points plus a block for the second-seeded Knights in a 73-39 semifinal triumph over Valle Catholic.

Virginia Lugo, Alyson Tucker and Macey Pauls each provided 11 points in the victory, while Zoe Johns recorded 10 points, seven rebounds and two blocks.

Farmington (13-7) will face top seed Central for the title Saturday at Mineral Area College. The Knights lost to the Lady Rebels 72-53 in their most recent meeting in late January.

Valle Catholic (10-12) will battle Arcadia Valley for third place after coming off a rewarding win against hometown rival Ste. Genevieve in the quarterfinals.

The Knights hastily built an early lead by capitalizing on Valle Catholic errors. Tucker sank two early 3-pointers, and Pauls drilled her first shot from the perimeter to make it 11-3 midway through the opening period.

Farmington remained focused through solid jump shooting, and its intense defense helped generate a 14-0 run.

Rachel Loida beat the first-quarter buzzer with a layup off an inbounds pass to bring the Lady Warriors within 23-6.

Loida and Hannah Fowler each contributed 10 points for Valle Catholic, while senior Sydni Basler led the team by scoring 12 points exclusively from beyond the arc.

The Knights frequently worked the ball inside to widen the margin during the second quarter. They possessed the ball for the final 30 seconds of the period, and Lugo dropped in a putback attempt as time expired for a 45-17 edge.

Pauls notched five of her game-high seven assists during the third period by driving into the lane then passing to her post teammates.

Johns and Busse combined to score the first 12 points after halftime for Farmington until Pauls drained her third 3-pointer for a 60-21 lead with 2:20 remaining in the third quarter.

Riley Bohn capped the Knights' scoring with a 3-pointer from straight away after falling short on previous attempts. Kaylee Wooldridge, Baylee Gilliam and Pauls each posted five rebounds.

Fowler tallied a team-high seven rebounds plus a block for Valle Catholic.

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Sports Reporter

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