Central Maine Community College didn’t blow Penn State-Fayette out of the water in any given period of their quarterfinal matchup in the USCAA Division II tournament on Thursday.

The Mustangs didn’t need to, relying instead on steady scoring from a bevy of players and their deep bench to outlast the host team, 79-69.

“Playing a team on their home court in March is never easy, and we’re happy to come away with the win,” CMCC coach Andrew Morong said.

CMCC advances to the national semifinal round, where the top-seeded Mustangs will face familiar foe Southern Maine Community College, the No. 4 seed, which throttled PSU-Hazleton, 85-51.

“We play them two or three times every year, and they had a great game (Thursday),” Morong said. “They’re flying high right now and we’re coming off kind of an ugly game, so we just need to focus and play our game. We can’t get caught up in a rivalry or anything like that.”

USCAA All-American Brooke Reynolds was a force for the Mustangs (31-1), finishing with 17 points, 14 rebounds and four assists. More importantly, she was the better of two first-team All-Americans on the floor Thursday. The CMCC defense held Taylor Smith to 16 points and only three rebounds, well below her season average.


“At tournament time, All-Americans have to play like All-Americans, and Brooke did that and a little bit more, really,” Morong said. “She was just relentless on the glass. It’s not like she’s the biggest or the fastest or the strongest out there, she’s just willing to roll up her sleeves and outwork people.”

Bigger still for the Mustangs — and perhaps the key to the win — was the play of their bench players. The CMCC bench scored 40 points, more than the team’s starters’ 39. Leading that charge was Rangeley High School grad Seve Derry-Deraps with 11 points. Rylee Moore, a Spruce Mountain High School alumna, added 10 more, and Edward Little grad Tianna Harriman hit for nine.

“The past couple of games, actually, our bench had been outscored by other teams’ benches, which is not a good thing for us, it’s not the norm,” Morong said. “The bench went in and they found a way to make an impact. Seve going in and hitting triples, and playing like the Seve we had last year … she’d been in a little bit of a funk, and to see her work through that. Her hitting her shots got everyone else on the bench going. And Rylee Moore played tremendous defense and it was great to see her step up on offense, too.”

Lewiston High School product Kristina Blais started and also finished with nine points and led all players with six assists.

“She just elevates her game,” Morong said. “She may not be scoring a lot at times, but her intensity and just her sheer confidence is just … I don’t know that we’ve had another player with as much confidence as she has. Her shooting percentage never deters her. She could miss 10 shots in a row and she’s still the most confident player on the floor. She just took over the game at times and put people in an easy position to make some baskets.”

Courtney Haines led the Nittany Lions with 17 points, including her team’s only 3-pointer. Smith’s 16 was second-best, while Haley Moreland (13) and Kori Whitehead (11) also hit double figures.

The Mustangs set the pace early, jumping out to a seven-point lead in the opening quarter and adding another six to that edge by halftime for a 41-28 advantage.

A big run to end the third quarter pushed the Mustangs’ lead to 23, and they cruised home in the fourth.

“We didn’t have to play our starters in the fourth quarter,” Morong said. “That allowed us to get some more people some experience and allowed us to give some people rest who needed rest.”

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