It took well over a half, but McAuley senior guard Allie Clement finally found her range.
Once she did, the Lions were off to their fourth straight Western Class A girls’ basketball title, beating Windham 50-28 Saturday night at the Cumberland County Civic Center.
Clement scored 11 of her 23 points in the third quarter, including her first 3-pointer of the game with 20 seconds left, to push McAuley to a comfortable 34-13 lead. For the second year in a row, Clement was named the Edward “Red” McMann Award winner as the tournament’s outstanding player.
“It was tough. We definitely didn’t come out the way we wanted to and our shots weren’t falling in the first half,” Clement said. “You always kind of need to think next play.”
After a 2-for-12 start, Clement made seven of her final 11 shots.
“At halftime I thought she was being a little passive and I told her to be aggressive,” McAuley Coach Bill Goodman said. “She’s one of the best players maybe to ever play here, and I just wanted her to take it over.”
McAuley (20-1) will meet Eastern Maine champ Oxford Hills (17-4) at 4:05 p.m. Saturday at the Civic Center. McAuley has a chance to join Westbrook (1978-81) and Lawrence (1991-94) as the only schools to win four straight Class A girls’ state titles.
For the second night in a row, a player was taken out of the Civic Center on a backboard via ambulance.
Windham junior Luisa Sbardella ran into Olivia Smith while Smith was setting a screen near midcourt. Clement scored for a 40-20 lead with 5:19 left in the game.
Like Portland junior Elizabeth Donato the night before in a semifinal against McAuley, Sbardella stayed on her back while being attended to by athletic trainers until paramedics arrived.
“I think she’s going to be fine,” Windham Coach Brody Artes said after the game. “She was complaining of lower neck pain, and I think that’s why they took her. It was more precautionary than anything.”
Sbardella returned to the Civic Center within an hour.
Victoria Lux heated up in the fourth quarter for McAuley, making four of her last five attempts to finish with 14 points. No other McAuley player scored more than four.
Despite a 9:50 scoreless stretch and falling behind 12-2, No. 7 Windham (14-8) trailed only 19-13 at halftime because of its physical defense and eight blocked shots.
Sbardella made three straight shots, including two 3-pointers in the second quarter. She finished as Windham’s leading scorer with eight points.
Neither team scored in the first 2:09 of the third quarter until a bench technical was called against Windham. Clement made both free throws. On the ensuing possession, Smith converted an offensive rebound.
A 6-foot bank shot by Clement pushed the lead to 25-13. After that, Clement hit a pair of pull-up jumpers in transition, sandwiched around a nice spin move by Lux.
The sharp shooting was in stark contrast to the first half, when McAuley made 6 of 27 shots. Windham as 5 of 23.
Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or at: