AUBURN — Southern Maine Community College guard Jack Pyzynski didn’t have time to be nervous after the ball left his hands.

Pyzynski received a pass from center Randy Vasquez and scored on a layup with 19.1 seconds left, putting the Seawolves ahead by one point. Luke Gabloff was fouled and made two shots from the charity stripe and SMCC slipped away with a 62-59 victory over host and top-seeded Central Maine Community College in the Yankee Small College Conference men’s basketball semifinal Saturday night.

Fourth-seeded SMCC, the defending USCAA Division II national champion, goes on to face sixth-seeded Great Bay Community College for the YSCC title on Sunday.

Gabloff went 7 for 10 at the free-throw line.

But it was Pyzynski’s inside job with that precious layup that allowed the Seawolves to shake off the rival Mustangs.

“(Vasquez) made the right read, he kept his head, saw me cutting,” Pyzynski, who was SMCC’s leading scorer with 16 points, said. “I saw the whole defense with their heads turned. I made the cut; he made the pass.


“Everything is too fast to think. It was just too fast. I was zoned in. I saw opportunity and got the layup.”

Before Pyzynski’s heroics, things got heated between the two teams in the middle of the court. A foul and a technical foul were called on CMCC’s DeMarco McKissic, who left the game after receiving his fifth foul. SMCC made two of the three free throws, cutting the Mustangs’ lead to 59-58.

“A slugfest is a great word to describe the game,” SMCC coach Matt Richards said. “So listen, we are not the prettiest team out there. We defend really well. We blocked out really well, and because of that, we hold opponents down in shooting percentage.

“Now, if we get just enough offense, we can be in ball games like that — and we hit the shots down the stretch to pull it out. Really proud of them in that, you know, sometimes we go in lulls and it is easy to hang your head. We did it. We just played with energy.

“The returning guys just did a great job of just staying positive and then like getting 50-50 balls. You know, we just found a way to win.”

Forward Tom Martinotti helped out with 13 points.


CMCC guard Wyatt Hathaway gave his team a shot in the arm with his dazzling 3-point shooting and fearless drives to the net in the second half. He ended up becoming the Mustangs’ leading scorer with 19 points after knocking down five 3-pointers and dishing out three assists. He had a hand in building CMCC’s 47-42 lead late in the second half.

SMCC began to eat away at the Mustangs’ lead, and with 3:25 to go in the game, CMCC was hanging on to a 54-52. Jaeden Henderson scored five points of his 17 on a 3-pointer and drive to the net, handing the Mustangs a 59-54 lead.

“I was so pleased with Jaeden Henderson,” CMCC coach Dave Gonyea said. “He has played so hard and just works at it. He is such a fabulous kid. Watching him move (on from CMCC) is really going to be hard. Life goes on.”

Boston Caldwell had 11 points for CMCC.

“We just lost our composure down the stretch,” Gonyea said. “Big game like that, (there is) a lot of pressure. The kids, I thought, played pretty well, but at the end of the day, the other team won.

“We didn’t play together the second half. That was part of our problem. We did all we could do to prepare, and I thought we were prepared. The physical game kicked in and they out-physicaled us. They win and we go home. It is a tough way to lose a game, especially when they worked so hard.”

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