McAuley High’s chances of winning a fourth consecutive Class A girls’ basketball championship have gotten a little harder.

The Lions, who will take a 48-game winning streak into the season, will be without standout sophomore guard Sarah Clement, who tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee in a recent AAU tournament and will have surgery Tuesday. She will miss the entire season.

“Sarah, I feel, is one of the best players in the league,’’ said Coach Bill Goodman. “Because of our team dynamics and what I chose to do as a coach, she didn’t start every game. But her ability, she was a top player.’’

And she’s not the only Lion hurting.

Her sister, senior point guard Allie Clement, is back wearing a plastic boot on her right foot after experiencing recent pain. She suffered a stress fracture last year that prevented her from playing AAU ball. Senior center Olivia Smith will miss the first month of the season while recovering from an ACL injury suffered last May and junior guard Olivia Delphonse suffered a broken bone in her foot during soccer season.

“Every team has its ups and downs,’’ said Sarah Clement, who averaged 10 points last year and hit 43.5 percent of her 3-pointers. “We’re kind of in a down period right now but we’ll get out of it.’’

Sarah Clement suffered the injury Sept. 29 while playing in Massachusetts. It occurred with two minutes remaining in the final game of the afternoon. She had stolen the ball and was going in for a layup.

“A kid on the other team was catching her so she jumped off two feet for a power layup instead of taking a regular layup,’’ said her father, Brian Clement.

When she did that, Sarah Clement said she felt a pop.

“I immediately knew something wasn’t right,’’ she said.

An MRI showed the ACL tear.

“We’re trying to keep it in perspective,’’ said Brian Clement. “She’s only a sophomore, and I honestly think the hardest thing is she won’t be able to play with Allie one more year on a potentially historic team.’’

Sarah Clement said when she was told it was an ACL tear, her first thoughts were of her sister. “It was special last year,’’ she said. “Allie being a senior, this came at the worst time. I’m going to miss playing with my sister big time.’’

Allie Clement began experiencing pain in her right foot while playing in a fall league. She suffered a stress fracture in the foot last year and it hindered her through the season. She accepted a scholarship from Marist College, a Division I school.

Wearing the boot now is a precaution. “There’s some pain but it’s not horrible,’’ said Allie Clement, who is scheduled to see a specialist Monday in Boston. “We want to get control of it before the season begins.’’

The first allowable basketball practice is Nov. 18.

Mike Lowe can be reached at 791-6422 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: MikeLowePPH

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