PORTLAND – Maybe, as McAuley High basketball coach Bill Goodman told a reporter after the game, no championship was won Friday night.

But certainly some valuable experience was gained that could lead to a championship.

Goodman’s undefeated Lions pulled out a grueling, physical 30-25 overtime victory against rival Deering, a game that left players from both squads limping and exhausted.

Both teams excelled at playing defense, and both struggled offensively. In the end, the Lions (8-0) had just a little more firepower than the Rams (6-3). Sophomore Olivia Smith, who was playing on a badly sprained ankle, had four points and two huge defensive rebounds in overtime.

And classmate Allie Clement again bedeviled the Rams, hitting a 3-pointer with 1:30 left in regulation to tie the game and send it to overtime — just as she did last year when the Lions won in overtime at Deering.

“This means so much,” said Smith. “We needed this type of experience. This isn’t last year’s team (which won the Class A state championship). This is a new team. And we all needed to experience this type of game so that we can become a good team.”

Deering, which had a six-game winning streak snapped, scored the game’s first seven points — all by 6-foot-4 junior center Marissa MacMillan.

But McAuley settled down defensively, battling back to a 12-12 halftime tie.

Deering struggled offensively in the second half, with several unforced turnovers leading to McAuley baskets.

Still, the Rams led 23-20 with 1:57 left in the fourth after Ella Ramonas hit two foul shots. Clement then missed a 3-pointer, but the Lions retained control and Sadie DiPierro found Clement open again, just to the left of the key. She swished that 3-point attempt, and the game was tied.

“I wasn’t planning to have to do that,” said Clement. “But you’ve got to do whatever it takes to battle back and get your team in the game, and I guess that’s what I had to do.”

Deering tried to hold for the last shot, but Clement stole the ball with 22 seconds remaining. However, the Rams’ defense prevented McAuley from winning in regulation.

In overtime, Smith scored on a strong inside move to give McAuley a 25-23 lead. It was 26-24 when Clement hit two foul shots with 18.9 seconds left. Smith sealed the win with two foul shots with 3.5 seconds left.

Deering was 2 for 8 at the foul line in overtime, 6 for 17 for the game.

“That’s your game right there,” said Mike Murphy, coach of the Rams. “We did exactly what we wanted to do defensively. But we made unforced turnovers and made poor decisions driving to the basket we let one slip away.”

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

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Twitter: MikeLowePPH