The seemingly inevitable has happened.

Two-time defending state champ Catherine McAuley has now ascended to the top spot in the Western A Heal Point standings.

The Lions had languished around No. 4 for much of the season due to a light opening schedule.

Last week’s double dominating wins against top contenders Cheverus (51-30) and Scarborough (65-42) have McAuley at 12-0.

The Lions entered the week having won 38 consecutive Class A games, dating back to a 38-35 loss to Deering in the 2011 regular-season finale.

Deering is the only team to stay within 20 points, losing at McAuley, 43-35, on Jan. 5.

“Coming into the season it seemed McAuley was head-and-shoulders ahead of everyone else and there were three, maybe four, teams that could have a shot at knocking them off,” Scarborough Coach Ron Cote said.

“Well, last week Cheverus lost by 21 and we lost to them by 23.”

Both Scarborough and Cheverus caught McAuley at the end of a grueling stretch of games that included Cheverus’ epic three-overtime win against Scarborough and losses to Deering.

“That was pretty draining,” Cheverus Coach Richie Ashley said, noting it was a good prep for a deep playoff run.

“But you can’t take any credit away from McAuley. I don’t think that whole stretch of games had as much to do with it as it was just McAuley playing well.”

Both coaches were asked what they thought it would take for McAuley to be brought down.

“I don’t know. They’re good. They have everything in a team that you could ask for,” Cote said.

“They have size, an abundance of it, and in (Allie) Clement they have a guard who is one of the best players in the state.”

McAuley’s inside force is headlined by Division I prospect junior 6-foot-2 Olivia Smith and 6-0 sophomore Victoria Lux.

“And then they have (5-11 senior captain) Molly Mack and she’d be the top center on just about every other team,” Cote said.

“No team is unbeatable. The 2007 (New England) Patriots showed us that,” Ashley said.

“You’re going to have to play tough and limit their points and you have to score. We shot 15 percent against them. You’re going to have to knock down your shots.”

INJURY NEWS: Lake Region’s injury issues got worse last week when 6-foot-2 center Tiana-Jo Carter missed two games with back issues. Coach Paul True said he is unsure when Carter will return. The Lakers host York in a key matchup this Saturday.

Cheverus probably has the best full-roster depth in the SMAA but the rotation will have to change now that junior forward Sadie Lyons is out for the season due to a serious knee injury suffered in the McAuley game.

Ashley said Lyons tore her ACL, MCL and meniscus.

“She’s our first girl off the bench; a spark plug, a good rebounder, and an emotional leader,” Ashley said. “In our next game against Windham we could see the difference. We had to make some adjustments.”

WATCHING WAYNFLETE (10-2) dismantle an overmatched Traip Academy team on Friday, it was apparent the Flyers have improved during the season and will be an even tougher out in the playoffs than they were last year in a run to the Western C final.

“Last year we played only five girls. We had to worry about fouls while trying to play a full-court game,” Salway said prior to Friday’s 67-23 dismantling of Traip in Kittery.

The scoring ability and tenacious defense of senior Martha Veroneau is — and will continue to be — the Flyers’ best attribute.

But it’s far from their only one. Four of her teammates had eight points or more against the Rangers.

Salway is bringing former starter Helen Gray-Bauer and freshman Anne Veroneau off the bench. Gray-Bauer added energy to Waynflete’s trapping defenses and finishing speed on the break.

Anne Veroneau brings another shooter/ball handler onto the court.

In addition, junior Leigh Fernandez is playing with confidence after a slow start while recovering from a broken arm during soccer.

Fernandez helps to spread the floor and keep the ball moving, meaning more good looks for 3-point threat Rhiannon Jackson and sophomore forward Juliana Harwood.

Staff Writer Steve Craig can be contacted at 791-6413 or at:

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