Tuesday, March 11, 2014
AUGUSTA - McAuley knows streaks. How to use them. How to prolong them.
McAuley captains Molly Mack, left, and Allie Clement hold up the Gold Ball after their team won its third straight Class A state championship with a 60-45 victory over Bangor at the Augusta Civic Center.
Photos by John Ewing/Staff Photographer
Sarah Bragg of Bangor takes a hit from Olivia Smith of McAuley while heading to the basket during McAuley’s 60-45 victory.
With five streaks of 6 to 9 points, McAuley pushed its consecutive Class A girls' basketball title streak to three, gradually subduing tall and talented Bangor 60-45 on Saturday at the Augusta Civic Center.
McAuley has won 48 straight games and will return virtually all of its scoring, losing only starter Molly Mack and seldom-used reserve Emily Chandler. The expectations will be just as high next year.
"They've got to do it again. I'll be in the crowd cheering the loudest," Mack said as she proudly wore a basketball net necklace. "It's incredible. I have the best teammates and the best fan support I could ask for. This has been the best four years I could ever imagine."
McAuley was led by 6-foot-2 Olivia Smith with 20 points and 10 rebounds. She and 6-foot Victoria Lux (11 points, 19 rebounds) rose to the challenge of facing Bangor's two 6-footers.
"I've been striving to have a good game this whole season," said Smith, a Division I prospect who has seen her share of double- and triple-teams. "It felt really great to get out there. My teammates were a big contribution today."
Cordelia Stewart, a 6-2 post player (17 points) and 6-1 Mary Butler (10 points) helped Bangor (17-5) with scoring but couldn't keep pace with rebounding.
"We know if you want to win a championship you've got to get the ball inside," McAuley Coach Bill Goodman said.
Lux's ability to rebound, including two putbacks of her own misses in the second quarter, was huge as McAuley (22-0) gained its first double-digit lead at 30-20, then went into the break ahead 34-23 on Smith's sixth basket.
"The No. 1 thing was rebounding, boxing out," Lux said. "You had to work at it because those big girls are really good. They have talent."
When Denae Johnson raced down the court, pulled up and buried Bangor's first shot, it was apparent the Rams weren't intimidated by McAuley's previous titles, winning streak or reputation.
"Bangor brought it and they should be proud of themselves," Goodman said.
McAuley got its first 6-0 run at the end of the first quarter, with Allie Clement banking in a 3-pointer for a 13-7 lead, only to have Johnson bury her own 3 at the buzzer.
Clement (13 points) made her third 3-pointer of the game for a 39-23 lead.
Smith promptly came up with a steal, leading to a fast break that saw Sarah Clement (nine points) get fouled and make both free throws.
Bangor closed the third quarter effectively, with Stewart scoring six points and Butler adding four, but Smith had two run-halting hoops.
The fourth quarter started with six straight McAuley points.
"They would go on runs. They've got great 3-point shooters and they're well-coached," Bangor Coach Katie Herbine said. "It was a little edge, and over four quarters it adds up."
Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or at: