All season long Bill Goodman has been telling his McAuley High freshman guard Eva Mazur to become more involved offensively.

On Monday night, she did.

Mazur scored 15 points, five during a key stretch in the third quarter, as top-ranked McAuley shook off No. 9 Portland, 52-41, in the Western Class A quarterfinals at the Portland Expo.

“This is really the first game I’ve ever done offense,” said Mazur, who averaged 2.4 points in the regular season. “I’ve been pushed to do offense all season. I don’t know what happened in this game but I just felt comfortable driving and shooting. Something clicked.”

McAuley (18-1) will play fifth-ranked South Portland in the regional semifinals at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Cross Insurance Arena. Portland, which lost to McAuley by 30 points on Jan. 23, finished 9-11.

The Bulldogs played the Lions – who have won the last four Class A state championships – even into the third quarter. With senior center Gabby Wagabaza (17 points) getting good looks inside, Portland was tied at the half.

McAuley’s Sarah Clement broke a tie at 29 with a 3-pointer from the left corner with 4:26 left in the third. Elizabeth Donato hit two foul shots to pull Portland back within 32-31, but after a missed McAuley shot, Mazur stole the ball and was fouled while scoring a layup. She hit the free throw for a 35-31 lead.

The Bulldogs missed their next shot and Mazur put in her own offensive rebound for a 37-31 lead. Donato’s drive cut it to 37-33, but Olivia Dalphonse hit a 12-foot banker from the right and Jess Willerson scored on a second offensive rebound to give McAuley a 41-33 lead into the fourth.

“I think we needed an offensive push to really get us motivated and believe in ourselves on defense,” said Clement (10 points).

McAuley’s defense continued to excel in the fourth, holding Portland to just eight points. The Lions’ Willerson (12 points overall) and Mazur combined for nine in that quarter.

“Playoff basketball is very hard,” said Lions Coach Bill Goodman. “Give Portland credit, they were very organized. When it came down to it, in the third quarter, we played the defense we’ve played all year.”

Jay Lowery, Portland’s coach, lauded his team’s effort: “I think they learned a lot this year.”

Goodman said Mazur stepped up as well. “I’ve been begging her to get aggressive on offense and to get rebounds,” he said. “And she did it tonight. She didn’t play like a freshman. She doesn’t want to lose.”

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

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