“I think it was the first weekend here, we were already hanging out at each other’s houses. We definitely had a good, competitive nature on the court, but off the court, we’ve always had a mutual respect for one another. “

“We never had a problem in high school (with Lewiston). We get along so well,” Reynolds said. 

Of course, from the Eddies’ perspective, the one-sided nature of the rivalry during their high school careers may have had something to do with that. 

“Playing with them is way better than playing against them, considering they beat my butt for eight games straight,” Blais said. 

Now all three are critical pieces to head coach Andrew Morong’s plan to return the Mustangs to national prominence in the United States Collegiate Athletic Association.

CMCC’s season begins at 6 p.m. Friday night with the start of its annual Can-Am tournament.

Blais, Harriman and Reynolds all took very different paths to the campus on the shores of Lake Auburn.

Harriman took a year off after graduating from Edward Little in 2015. She had to get back into basketball shape and scrape a little rust off her dynamic offensive game, but figured she could make an immediate impact on the Mustangs with a few adjustments to her game.

“I’m working on my passing and taking it to the rack more than just settling for the outside shot,” she said.  “I was expecting to be a big part, just because of my potential.”

Morong agreed, and has tapped the 5-foot-6 Harriman as his starting two-guard.

“She’s a scorer. That’s what she does,” he said. “She’s a creator, and all of the girls feed off of her play-making ability. She just brings an excitement to the court, a flair, something that we’ve been missing the last couple of years.”

Harriman is enjoying the opportunity to team up again with Reynolds and fellow Eddie Eraleena Hairston, who is a sophomore, while also being able to call a longtime adversary a teammate for the first time. 

“Kristina and I were rivals at first, but we’ve always been wanting to play on the same team,” Harriman said. “And I was really excited hearing that Brooke was going to be playing. We play really well together.”

“I love (playing with Harriman again),” Reynolds said. “I’ve played with Tianna starting in the ‘Y’ in fifth grade, all the way up to travel season. We played AAU, middle school, high school. Me and her know how each other play. If I cut, she knows where to pass it, and if I rebound, I know right where she is for the ‘3.’

Reynolds transferred to CMCC after a year at St. Joseph’s College, where she averaged a little over five minutes per game in 12 games played as a freshman. 

The move was an academic one for Reynolds, so that she could enroll in a nursing program. But she is glad to have a place to continue her basketball career, too

“I’d always heard that CM had a good basketball program, so when (Morong) gave me an opportunity to play, I would never turn that down,” she said. 

“Any time you can get a transfer from a D-III school, they bring a different level of experience to the table,” Morong said.

Morong is expecting the 5-foot-9 Reynolds to become more of a factor at the offensive end as the season progresses, but believes she already ranks up there with the elite defenders he’s coached at CMCC such as Susie French.

“Brooke may go down as one of the better defenders we’ve had here,” he said. “People don’t realize how long and lanky she is, but she’s also a tremendous athlete. She’s extremely quick. She can get off the floor, and she’s highly intelligent.”

Morong believes Reynolds’ athleticism and defense can help the Mustangs force the tempo more. An undersized post player in high school, Reynolds will play out on the wing for the Mustangs. But her experience battling in the paint will allow her to defend all five positions.

Reynolds admits she still feels more comfortable down low, but is adapting to playing more on the wing.

“It’s been a big adjustment,” Reynolds said. “Having to learn how to ball-handle and keep up with the smaller, quick girls, it’s been an adjustment, to say the least. But I feel like even though I’m just average height and weight-wise, I can keep up with everyone equally.”

Blais is not only being reunited with her former rivals, but with Morong, for whom she played two years of AAU basketball.

Morong knows the 5-foot-4 Blais’ intangibles stack up with her impressive point guard skills.

“She always was known for having a chip on her shoulder,” Morong said. “A lot of people may have seen that as a negative thing and that’s what I fell in love with. I think as a point guard, you have to have some kind of chip on your shoulder.”

“I just try and play with confidence and play my game,” Blais said. 

Blais is staring the season backing up former Spruce Mountain star Nicole Hamblin at the  point, but Morong expects the pair to battle for the starting role and playing time all season, and the Mustangs’ up-tempo attack to benefit from their competitiveness.

This is the first time the Mustangs have had such a heavy Twin Cities presence on the roster in Morong’s six years at the helm. He thinks Blais, Harriman and Reynolds could help make that presence last.

“I’m really looking forward to the dynamic,” Morong said. “I hope it’s something we can build on and it’s a trend that continues.”

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