SACO – Rebecca Knight wasn’t going to control the tempo of the game by herself Wednesday night.

In the early minutes of McAuley’s 46-21 victory at Thornton Academy, it seemed she was going to carry the Lions’ offense.

But for Knight and the Lions to fully flourish, her teammates have to contribute on offense.

Knight scored eight of her 12 points in the first quarter before the Lions spread out their offense.

“We really count on (Rebecca) for offensive points, but no team can have one player carry them,” said center Alexa Coulombe, who scored 11 points for the Lions.

Seven players scored for McAuley (2-0), which allowed Thornton Academy only two points in the first quarter on Olivia Shaw’s free throws, and four shots from the floor.

“If you have seven people putting in a decent amount of points, you aren’t going to be able to guard all of them at one time,” Coulombe said.

McAuley created much of its offense off turnovers. The Lions used a smothering defense that fueled an early second-quarter surge, allowing the Trojans (1-1) just 13 shots in the first half.

“We like to do a lot of pressure,” Lions Coach Amy Vachon said.

“One of the things we learned in our first game was that we had a lot of pressure (defensively) but we reached a lot. We really focused on not reaching and making them turn the ball over. When we do that, then we can capitalize.”

McAuley stretched an 8-2 lead at the start of the second quarter to 16-4 less than two minutes into the second. After a timeout with 4:30 left in the half, leading 16-7, the Lions allowed Thornton only one more first-half point — a free throw by Meghan Agger (12 points) with less than a minute left — en route to a 24-8 halftime lead.

“They got a lot of their scoring off our turnovers,” Thornton Coach Eric Marston said. “In transition, most of their baskets in the first half were off of our turnovers.

“I thought we did a decent job of defending them in the half-court but again, we turned it over too frequently in the offensive end. We did not execute offensively whatsoever.”

The Trojans cut McAuley’s lead to 28-15 five minutes into the third quarter, but Coulombe scored seven points in the third to help the Lions take a 33-15 lead into the fourth.

“We’re a defensive team,” Coulombe said. “Our offense spurs off our defense. Coach pulled us in at halftime and told us that if we kept this up, we could keep them under 15 for the rest of the game. But we had to regroup ourselves.

“This is where we’ve grown a lot. Last year we kind of got caught off guard but we came out of halftime knowing (Thornton) wanted to score. We needed to collect ourselves and play our game, and that’s what we ended up doing.”

Staff Writer Rachel Lenzi can be reached at 791-6415 or at:

[email protected]