PORTLAND — If McAuley High’s basketball team has had any flaw in its perfect season, it’s been an inability to get off to a fast start.

Monday night, the top-ranked Lions again struggled early. Again the outcome was never in doubt.

McAuley put together a 17-0 run in the second quarter to pull away and defeat No. 8 Gorham 46-31 in a Western Class A quarterfinal at the Portland Expo.

McAuley (19-0) will take a 45-game winning streak into the semifinals against Scarborough at 6 p.m. Friday at the Cumberland County Civic Center. The Lions beat the third-seeded Red Storm 65-42 on Jan. 18.

“We started out slow again,” said Lions Coach Bill Goodman, “but once we got going and moving the ball, it was much better.”

Gorham (12-8), which lost by 34 points to McAuley on Jan. 25, stayed close into the second quarter. The Rams trailed by one after one quarter, then made it 9-9 on a Lexi Merrifield foul shot 22 seconds into the second.

Then McAuley’s half-court trap took its toll. Gorham didn’t score again until Emily DeLuca’s drive with 1:11 left in the second. McAuley, meanwhile, put up 17 points in the 6:27 span between Gorham points.

The Lions forced five turnovers in the run, and Gorham missed five shots — two layups.

McAuley, meanwhile, was nearly flawless, with no turnovers in the second quarter.

Allie Clement began the run with a pull-up jumper. Sarah Clement hit a 3-pointer from the right wing. Jaclyn Welch hit a 3-pointer from the right corner.

Allie Clement followed with a three-point play — on which Kristin Ross picked up her third foul and had to go to the bench with 4:10 left in the half. Baskets by Olivia Smith, Sarah Clement and Laura Holman made it 26-9.

“They’re athletic, they adjusted to what we tried to do,” said Rams Coach Laughn Berthiaume. “They put that half-court trap on and we didn’t handle it as well as we had to. There weren’t really any surprises.”

Abby Hamilton led Gorham with 10 points. Ross had nine.

Allie Clement and Welch, with four 3s, led the Lions with 12 points each.

“We had spurts where we showed how good we can be,” said Goodman. “We also showed some times that we really need to get back to work tomorrow.”

Allie Clement said the lack of playing — McAuley’s last game was Feb. 7 — may have contributed to the slow start.

“Once we got out of that funk of not playing for a while, we locked down and realized that we can’t play like that if we wanted to win the game,” said Allie Clement.

 

Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at:

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