PORTLAND—When the Deering and McAuley girls’ basketball teams get together, you never know what’s going to happen.
While the Lions and Rams have managed to produce some of the most stirring games to be witnessed in these parts in recent seasons, what transpired in their lone regular season meeting Friday night defied belief and didn’t come close to producing resolution.
The undefeated rivals only managed to play 4 minutes, 59 seconds of their highly anticipated showdown before condensation on the court forced suspension of the game, which will be continued Saturday at 2 p.m., at McAuley, presuming conditions are playable.
The two-time defending Class A state champion Lions, 7-0, riding a 33-game win streak and yet to be even momentarily tested this winter, and the 8-0 Rams, who always matchup well with their Stevens Avenue rival, had a packed house (which included several college coaches) at a fever pitch, but Friday’s contest wasn’t to be.
The Rams clearly came to play and raced to a quick 4-0 lead as senior Alexis Stephenson converted a runner and after a steal from senior Chelsea Saucier, junior LeeAnn Downs made a layup after a mere 27 seconds.
With 7:10 to go in the first period, however, things turned surreal.
The officials delayed the contest due to moisture buildup on the baseline closest to the crowd. McAuley athletic director Joe Kilmartin, with the help of several parents and students, tried to towel off the baseline, while both teams went through a second set of warmups.
Deering coach Mike Murphy was perturbed with the delay and talked of pulling his team off the floor and leaving the premises, but after nearly 20 minutes, the game resumed.
The Lions, not surprisingly, came to life as junior standout Allie Clement took a pass from classmate Olivia Smith and buried a 3 and seconds later, freshman Sarah Clement managed to convert a difficult angle layup after a steal for a 5-4 lead.
With 3:27 to go in the opening stanza, the Rams retook the lead, 6-5, on a layup by Stephenson.
McAuley brought the ball into its offensive zone and junior Jackie Welch caught a pass on the baseline, but lost her balance and play was stopped for a second time.
On this occasion, after another 15 minutes, it was clear that the court wasn’t playable and the officiating crew, after consulting with the coaches, at 7:52 p.m., suspended the game.
“It’s a health factor and it’s a safety factor,” said Murphy. “When we came back after the first delay, my kid took it out and slipped taking (the ball) back out and shook her head looking at me. I was told it was greasy. Safety is the biggest thing. It was psychological. How fair is it to the athletes?”
“Things happen and you go with the flow,” said McAuley coach Billy Goodman. “It’s unfortunate and I feel bad. I’m willing to listen to whatever the refs feel. The kids’ safety is number one. I want the kids safe, so I’ll do whatever. I had a couple players check the floor, but (Jackie) slipped and (condensation) can come back anytime, so (suspending it) makes sense.”
Deering will hold a 6-5 lead and will have possession when play resumes at 2 p.m., Saturday.
“If (the floor’s) not ready, I have no problem going to Deering,” Goodman said.
A couple factors to keep in mind are two fouls on Rams senior Keneisha DiRamio. and three early team fouls on the Lions, one apiece on each Clement sister and another on Smith.
In the early going, Saucier had a rebound, block, steal and basket.
Smith had a steal and an assist, while Sarah Clement managed an offensive board and a steal.
McAuley is seeking its third straight win over Deering.
McAuley junior Allie Clement shoots while Deering senior Chelsea Saucier pays close attention. Clement hit an early 3.
McAuley junior Olivia Smith dribbles up the wing while Deering senior Alexis Stephenson looks to impede her progress.
Deering junior LeeAnn Downs defends McAuley freshman Sarah Clement.
McAuley sophomore Victoria Lux tries to go up for a shot and is defended by Deering senior Keneisha DiRamio.
McAuley junior Jackie Welch gets Deering senior Keneisha DiRamio to go up in the air.
Deering coach Mike Murphy tries to get his players to focus during a delay Friday. The Rams came out sizzling and will hope to keep their edge when play resumes Saturday.
Several volunteers attempt to wipe condensation from the floor moments after the start of Friday’s Deering at McAuley girls’ basketball showdown, but the game was suspended and will be resumed Saturday at 2 p.m.
More photos below.