AUBURN — Central Maine Community College suffocated Southern Maine Community College defensively, holding the Seawolves under 15 percent shooting from the floor in the first half, to cruise to its third consecutive Yankee Small College Conference tournament title with a 71-52 win on Sunday.

Brooke Reynolds made four of five shots for 10 points in the first half to help the Mustangs open a commanding 36-19 halftime lead. Reynolds finished the game with 27  points, 17 rebounds and eight steals, while Alex Bessey added 13 points for the Mustangs.

“We really wanted to establish ourselves in the pain, both through post entry (passes) and dribble drive,” CMCC coach Andrew Morong said. “We wanted them to not score in the paint and challenge the few shooters they have on the perimeter. We wanted to make everything they took feel impossible for them.”

Behind Reynolds and Bessey, the Mustangs (25-5) outscored SMCC, 26-2, in the paint in the first half and limited the Seawolves  (22-5) to four first-half field goals overall.

YSCC Player of the Year Amanda Brett finished with a game-high 26 points for the Seawolves, while Abigail Ramirez added 12 points.

The win was CMCC’s 53rd in a row against a YSCC opponent, but the Mustangs were playing with a big of a chip on their shoulder, Morong said.

“We’ve felt this season that we never got the credit we were due from opponents and other coaches,” he said. “I’m really proud of the way the girls responded and hopefully this is a sign of things to come.”

Both teams will be heading to the USCAA National Tournament in Uniontown, PA March 2-6. The Mustangs, who were also the YSCC regular-season champions, will be the No. 2 seed, have a first-round bye and on Feb. 4 will play the winner of the first-round game between Davis College of Binghamton, NY and UMaine-Machias. The Seawolves will be the No. 8 seed and play Penn State-Fayette in the first round on Feb. 3.

Central Maine Community College (Stock photo)

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