Injured Portland High basketball player Elizabeth Donato, taken to Maine Medical Center during Friday’s Western Class A semifinal against McAuley at the Cumberland County Civic Center, was responsive and undergoing further tests, Portland Coach Jan Veinot said after the game.
Donato was injured with 3.3 seconds left in the first half after a hard collision with McAuley’s Ayla Tartre. Both players ran toward a loose ball and collided while upright.
Donato immediately went to the floor.
Prone on her back, Donato was moving both her arms and legs. Initial reports were she was suffering a seizure.
After being attended to for about 12-14 minutes, Donato was strapped to a backboard with her head and neck restrained and taken from the Civic Center via an ambulance.
After McAuley’s 70-38 win, Veinot said Donato did not have a spinal injury.
“It was a conk on the head. She went up and down and hit her head,” Veinot said.
McAuley was leading 31-12 at the time of Donato’s injury.
“I (told) all the kids who were really her closest friends, a tightly-knit group of four who start, ‘you don’t have to play if you don’t want to,’ Veinot said. “And they wanted to play. So I said, ‘OK, then play hard.’”
Portland senior Brianna Holdren said it was scary to see her friend hurt.
“We, as seniors, her being our best friend, it was really hard not having her out there,” Holdren said.
McAuley senior Allie Clement said the injury also shook her team.
“I think we kind of forgot we were in a basketball game,” Clement said. “We said a little prayer in the locker room. Elizabeth is a good friend of a lot of people on the team.”
WINDHAM PULLED OFF an upset of No. 2 Thornton Academy with a basket in the final seconds of their Western Class A girls’ basketball quarterfinal.
Then the Eagles rallied to beat No. 6 Cheverus in the semifinals Friday. Both wins avenged one-sided regular-season losses.
Windham will meet No. 1 McAuley in the regional final Saturday night. The last time those teams played, it was a night of celebrations for the Lions. The 2013 Class A state championship banner was raised, Allie Clement scored her 1,000th career point and Olivia Smith made her season debut, coming back from a torn ACL.
Oh yeah, McAuley also overwhelmed the Eagles, 74-29.
“They had so much positive energy going for them, that was a night where we just weren’t going to be able to overcome that,” Windham Coach Brody Artes said.
“Obviously, they are a very good team and we have our work cut out for us. Are they 50 points better than us? I don’t think so. Our challenge will just be to keep it close, because we’ve shown what we can do in those situations.”
RESERVED SEATING TICKETS for the Western Class A championship games will go on sale at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Cumberland County Civic Center.
Tickets are $9 for reserved seats, $8 for adult general admission and $5 for students and seniors. Tickets can only be purchased at the Civic Center box office, cash only. There’s a 10-ticket limit per person.
Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or at: