Central Maine Community College’s Brooke Reynolds, left, drives around UMA’s Caitlin LaFountain during a 2017 game in Augusta. Kennebec Journal file photo

Central Maine Community College coach Andrew Morong said it is no secret why five players from Maine were recently named to the Yankee Small College Conference Women’s Basketball Twin Decades Team.

“I think if you look back over the last 20 years between coach Mike Bridges up until 2011 and then on to myself,  the program has seen consistent success as far as championships go,” Morong said. “I think it comes down to recruiting the right kind of kid.

“When you recruit local (kids) or across the world that buy into a system, not just about basketball, but a system of beliefs, then I think some pretty special things can be accomplished.”

Former area high school standouts Gabby Foy (Mt. Blue), Lynn McNutt-Girouard  (Lewiston), Brooke Reynolds (Edward Little), Maggie Sabine (Oak Hill) and Tiffany Seams (Oxford Hills) were among the 20 selectees to the team.

“Gabby was a prolific scorer,” Morong said. “She had a pretty advanced arsenal to score. She was definitely is known for her 3-pointers and made them from five or six feet from beyond the 3-point line. She scored in many different ways.”

Morong didn’t have the opportunity to coach McNutt-Girouard — who holds the CMCC record for career points with 1,682, and single-game points with 45 — but he certainly enjoyed watching her play in high school.

“The big moment for our program was when she decided to stay home and play for her hometown school,” Morong said. “Coming to CM was big for us. It helped our program be put on the map. 

Brooke Reynolds is one of seven Central Maine Community College women’s basketball players recently named to the Yankee Small Colleges Conference Women’s Basketball Twin Decades Team. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

“Lynn made it OK for other people and other top talent to come not just to CMCC, but to other community colleges as well. She was really a pioneer in that regard.”

Morong said Reynolds has made a lasting impression on the Mustangs program.

“Here she is a 5-foot-8 forward, completely undersized, but in the history of our program, I am not sure we had a better … rebounder,” the Mustangs coach said. “She brought this natural ability to anticipate unlike anything I have ever seen before. She wasn’t a natural scorer, but she was a natural impactor — and she did impact the team in so many ways and still found a way to score 1,000 points. It’s crazy.”

Sabine was Morong’s first big-time recruit who also played for Morong’s father in high school.

“She just came into college and really took her game to the next level,” Morong said. “Getting a scholarship was never on her mind, and after two seasons with us, being able to go on and continue her education at St. Michael’s College … for free. It is a pretty crazy transformation. Again, it just goes to show you what you can do when you buy in, kind of trust the process and all kinds of doors open up for you when you leave.”

Morong describes Seams as a relentless competitor.

“Her school record — 13 3-pointers in a single game — I don’t think that it will ever be broken,” Morong said. “It is just great having all these local student athletes. … It makes such a lasting impact on our program.” 

Another Mainer from the Berwick area, Ashley Swett, who played for Noble High School, dominated the interior of the court for the Mustangs during her three-year stay.

“(She is) one of the first big Southern Mainer sort of recruits that Coach Bridges was able to get to come up to Auburn,” Morong said. “Again, that opened up different recruiting pipelines for us.” 

According to Morong, the Mustangs’ other Twin Decades honoree, New Hampshire native Susie French, who played for Portsmouth High School, is arguably the best player to ever compete at CMCC.

“I am sure if you ask coach Dave Gonyea, our men’s coach, he would have taken Susie on his team and probably still would today,” Morong said. “Susie is just absolutely the most relentless, not just as a player, but the most relentless person I have ever met in my entire life. I became a better coach because of her … but to me that’s where her lasting impact lives.”

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