PORTLAND – A quick start and team depth proved to be more than enough to keep McAuley’s unbeaten season firmly intact.

McAuley pounded the ball inside and relied on its size advantage in the early stages of the game, then leaned on its secondary players in the latter stages on its way to a 65-42 victory over Scarborough in an SMAA girls’ basketball game Friday night.

The top-ranked Lions improved to 12-0 on the season with the win, earning their 38th straight victory in the process.

Scarborough, ranked third, lost for the third time in four games to drop to 9-3.

“We became a team tonight,” said McAuley Coach Bill Goodman.

“We got in foul trouble and other girls stepped up, and I love it. We go to the bench in practice and try to anticipate stuff. I felt tonight was our best team win.”

The Lions carried the play early and used an 18-2 run in the closing moments of the first quarter to surge to a 22-9 lead.

In the second quarter, McAuley found some success by getting the ball to Olivia Smith and Victoria Lux under the basket.

The tandem, McAuley’s two tallest players at 6-4 and 6-foot, respectively, combined for 13 points and numerous rebounds in the half to help the Lions to a 33-20 lead at the break.

“We try as best we can to give help inside and double-team in there as best we can because of our lack of height but you have to be careful,” said Scarborough Coach Ron Cote.

“You pick your poison. If you help out (inside) and they kick it back out to Allie Clement, she’s going to nail the 3.”

Clement didn’t hit any 3-pointers but was a constant threat as usual, and scored a game-high 16 points.

The Red Storm looked to kick their game into a higher gear to open the third quarter. Scarborough scored seven of the first nine points of the half to move within eight points.

The surge also forced McAuley into a string of fouls — Lux opened the quarter with McAuley’s first four points but went to the bench with four fouls 21/2 minutes into the period, which allowed others to fill the void.

Jackie Welch seized the opportunity. Relied upon for consistently solid defensive presence, Welch came alive offensively in the period with a pair of 3-pointers leading to nine points.

“I don’t think my talent has really fully translated on the court,” said Welch.

“It was the right atmosphere and we were kind of getting into foul trouble. Scarborough’s a very scrappy team and very guard-oriented, so I was very glad that I could step up the way I did for my team and finally hit some shots.”

McAuley closed the third on a 13-2 run for a 54-35 lead after three.

Smith finished with 12 points for the Lions while Lux had 10.

Mary Redmond scored 11 points to lead Scarborough.