McAuley, the three-time defending Class A girls’ basketball state champion, looks like it’s ready to go after another gold ball.
The Lions ran away with a 62-39 victory against Deering in an SMAA game Monday night .
It was the eighth consecutive victory for McAuley since its 56-game winning streak ended with a 50-49 loss Jan. 7 to Thornton Academy at Saco.
“To be honest with you, for the last month we’ve been playing really good team basketball and it shows now,” McAuley Coach Bill Goodman said.
“With our early-season injuries, my bench got some experience. I feel very comfortable there are at least two girls I can put in the game that are going to do a job and they’re going to be in the right spot.”
Victoria Lux, a 6-foot-1 center, scored 11 of her game-high 17 points in the first half to help send the Lions (16-1) into a 25-13 lead.
Allie Clement, who sat out more than five minutes in the second quarter in foul trouble, followed with 16 points. Olivia Smith, a 6-3 forward, added 12.
Freshman Tasia Titherington, a 5-8 guard, scored 15 points for the Rams (7-10).
“I think our passing and the press we’ve been working on really kind of clicked tonight,” said Clement, who missed all preseason while recovering from foot surgery.
“Our passing was on point and everyone was being super unselfish and not caring who scored, just making the best pass they could.”
When Clement picked up her third foul less than three minutes into the second quarter, the Lions didn’t seem to miss a beat.
“The players on the bench are always ready and they don’t miss a step,” said Clement, who is committed to go to Division I Marist. “They come in and have the same momentum. They just step on and are ready to go.”
“I give the bench credit,” Goodman said. “I told them all along they’re the key to this. If we’re going to play a certain style, they need to be able to go in there.”
The Rams, who carry three freshmen and four sophomores on their 16-player roster, just didn’t have enough experience to contend.
“At this time we have to play almost a perfect game to be competing and keeping the game so-called close,” Deering Coach Mike Murphy said. “When we turn the ball over on a semi-regular trip up the floor, we’re in trouble.”
Smith, who missed the first seven games of the season after recovering from knee surgery, said she’s just starting to really blend in.
“I was struggling a lot early in the season just trying to get back in tempo with the team,” she said. “I think I’m probably peaking right now.”
McAuley, which forced 25 turnovers and held a 33-20 edge in rebounding, put the game away in the third quarter, sinking 9 of 11 shots to move into a 48-19 lead.
“I always tell the girls I shouldn’t know who is going to shoot. Surprise me,” Goodman said. “The girls did a great job of moving the ball, especially in the third quarter.”