AUBURN — Saturday was another opportunity for Central Maine Community College to showcase its depth and give every player a chance to run the floor.

This time, the unblemished Mustangs overpowered Vermont Tech 83-38 for their second blowout in two days. CMCC (11-0) dismantled Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences 72-28 on Friday.

In Saturday’s game, the Mustangs were playing against a team that was missing several key players due to bouts with the flu. The Green Knights (2-3) played five players for all 40 minutes of action.

By the end of the first half, all of the Mustangs’ reserve players had seen action and helped CMCC build a 44-20 lead heading into the second half.

Mikenzie Melendez led the Mustangs with a team-high 13 points. She also sank a 3-pointer, pulled down five rebounds, collected five assists and stole the ball six times.

“I think playing as a team (got the job done) and I got my opportunity to shine and start the game today, which I only got to do once — and (the team) gave me the confidence I needed to come back (in the starting lineup) because all my other starters helped me out,” Melendez said. “We just played ball tonight. It felt good to play my game and be back.

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“We played well as a team. I still think we can give it more on the next game, but overall I think we did pretty good.

Mustangs coach Andrew Morong lauded Melendez’s performance.

“This was (Melendez’s) second career start — the first one in about a month,” he said. “She just killed the stat sheets. So she had 13 points, six steals, five assists, rebounds — like, that is one heckuva game, especially for a freshman. She made an impact every time she stepped on the floor.”

Lewiston High School graduate Emily Strachan added 10 points and also had six steals for CMCC.

Morong said the Mustangs’ prolific outing was another opportunity for the entire team to see action.

“Basically, we played everyone equal minutes,“ Morong said. “So it was really good. We got to change our starting lineup. That is just going to help develop our depth down the road. We played everybody in the first half and everybody got multiple rotations in the second half, so that is about building confidence, building discipline — all those things that will matter in March.”

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Morong kept rotating players in and out in the second half, and by the third quarter, CMCC was up 65-31.

“(The Knights) are in a tough spot,” Morong said. “They had a couple of girls out with the flu, a couple of girls injured and things like that, so that’s unfortunate situation. People ask us all the time why do we have 15 to 17 kids on the roster; because … if you get the flu bug, soothing happens, COVID-19 happens, you can still roll and have plenty of subs …”

Coreeahn Yharborough was fearless for the Knights, scoring a game-high 20 points and picking up nine steals.

Knights coach Michael Mader said his team showed character and determination on Saturday despite being shorthanded.

“It’s heart and character,” he said. “It would be very easy for us not to come (because of the flu) and try to reschedule this game, but they wanted to play. So I think they showed they wanted to play and I am really, really proud of my group.

“These are good games for us because it gives us a sense of where we want to be with our program and kind of where we need to get to. The results are the results, but this is a good test for us, and proud of how our team came out today.”

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