Jade Smedberg, who helped Oxford Hills win two state championships, stands in the pregame room at Central Maine Community College in Auburn on Thursday. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

AUBURN — The toll of frequent lockdowns at Franklin Pierce College due to COVID-19 and a touch of home sickness compelled Jade Smedberg to head home after one year and enroll at Central Maine Community College.

The Oxford Hills graduate, who played on back-to-back girls basketball Class A championships for the Vikings in 2019 and 2020, was recruited to play lacrosse for the Ravens.

CMCC’s Jade Smedberg lines up to try to secure a rebound during a game last month against UMaine-Farmington in Auburn. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

“You couldn’t leave your dorm rooms,” Smedberg said. “It was really strict.”

She found it difficult to make friends with the looming threat of the coronavirus that forced students to remain inside at times at the New Hampshire college.

So she reached out to someone whom she admired and respected — her former AAU coach Andrew Morong — who also happens to be the women’s basketball coach at CMCC.

“I actually played AAU for Morong for two years in high school,” she said. “It was kind of a late decision. I am happy with my move.”


Morong, who recruited Smedberg to play hoop for the Mustangs, said to her in a swift and succinct response, “Just come here.”

She is a business major who plays a variety of positions for the undefeated Mustangs. The junior is averaging 5.1 points per game, hitting 64.7 percent of free throws and pulling down 7.5 rebounds each game.

Central Maine Community College’s Jade Smedberg scrambles on defense in a recent game in Auburn. Ram Sports Photography

“It has been a great way to meet people from all over,” she said. “You wouldn’t expect a small place to have such diversity. The alumni are so supportive.”

Smedberg has always enjoyed playing lacrosse, but now she remains focused as one of the key players on the CMCC women’s basketball roster.

“Jade has always had potential but developed a new level of commitment to the game while here at CM,” Morong said. “Especially this past offseason, she put in a lot of time to develop her game and address some of her weaknesses. Her new level of commitment to the game, that’s now year-round, will continue to serve her well and provide her with opportunities to continue playing after this year.”

Morong said Smedberg’s defensive play is another asset for the Mustangs.


“Jade has always been one of the smartest players I have had the pleasure to coach,” the CMCC coach said. “Defensively, she is a savant. She can guard all five positions in the full court, which makes her, and us, incredibly versatile.”

Morong said it certainly helped that Smedberg was a member of the Vikings’ championship team.

“She plays the game the right way and has always been a part of a winning program,” Morong said. “Two state titles in high school for the premier girls basketball program in the state, Oxford Hills, and a national championship for us … she knows how to win. She understands how important the little things are to the process of a long season.

Jade Smedberg of Central Maine Community College drives on Sabrina Vlahovic of Plymouth State last month in Auburn. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

“She just doesn’t stop working hard. Her relentlessness and willingness to compete are rare these days. I love coaching her, I love challenging her, and I love winning with her. She deserves success.”

Trust in his players is a big deal for Morong.

“She impacts almost every possession, on both sides of the ball, because of her versatility,” he said. “I trust her, unequivocally. She just gets the job done … every day. Her stats may not pop out at you, but there’s no doubt in my mind she’s one of the best players in our conference.”

After graduation next year, Smedberg is considering traveling to the Netherlands to play pro basketball before she decides to finish up her four-year degree.

“I think I will (attend college) again when the world is back to normal,” she said. “(But) I am so happy I came here.”

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