Ayla Tartre scored 14 points and played a strong all-around game as McAuley upended Gorham 54-43 in an SMAA girls’ basketball game Friday night.

Tartre had nine points in the first half, and McAuley closed the second quarter with an 11-1 run to take a 28-18 lead.

“I thought I played well, but it was obviously a team effort. You can’t just play out there by yourself with all the pressure on your back. It was overall an amazing team effort,” said Tartre, a senior guard.

“She’s acting like a senior. Her defense has been amazing. She’s focused on her (defense) and if the offense is there, great. She’s turned into a very good basketball player,” said McAuley Coach Bill Goodman.

After taking control late in the first half, the Lions broke it open by starting the second half with an 11-3 surge.

“Once we got going, the defense did a great job, but once our offense really clicked I felt that was good,” said Goodman. “We struggled … at Thornton coming out in the third quarter. So we really focused on that.”

“I think we really picked it up in the second quarter. (We) started moving the ball better and making better passes,” said Tartre.

McAuley center Jess Willerson was a force in the paint at both ends. She scored 10 points while adding 11 rebounds and three block shots.

“(Gorham) was very aggressive and they played really well. I got double- and triple-teamed a couple times. It was a great battle in the post,” said Willerson, a junior who transferred from Cheverus.

“I absolutely love this girl,” Goodman said. “It’s a brand new system, she’s only been with us for a month. She’s trying hard, she improves every day. I really enjoy coaching this girl.”

Olivia Dalphonse also contributed 10 points and did not commit a turnover.

“She’s been really working on her shot. She shot the ball well, but she didn’t have any turnovers. To have no turnovers against that pressure is pretty good,” said Goodman.

“OD picked it up; she had zero turnovers the entire game, which was awesome,” said Tartre.

Emily Esposito scored 13 points for Gorham. She tried to fuel a comeback with six points, three rebounds and three steals in the final quarter.

“(Gorham is) a great team, they’re going to win a lot of games,” said Goodman. “They came out hot, but our defense settled down and I felt it was a team effort. That’s what we’re built upon.”