Edward Little High School graduate Chantel Ouellette began playing for the Central Maine Community College women’s basketball team in January following a transfer from Thomas College. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

Central Maine Community College women’s basketball coach Andrew Morong and newcomer Chantel Ouellette had a moment together after last Sunday’s Yankee Small College Conference championship game victory.

“I put my arm around her and said, ‘I told you, you should have come here all along,'” Morong said. “We had a good laugh; she stopped short of saying I was right because she knows how much I like that. She will never give that to me, but it was just a good moment.”

Winning the conference championship for the sixth time in seven years earns the Mustangs a trip back to the USCAA Division II national tournament, which is being held in Petersburg, Virginia. Central Maine won the national title last year, its third in five years. The Mustangs play their first game of this year’s tournament on Tuesday at noon.

Ouellette, a 2020 Edward Little High School graduate from Auburn, joined the Mustangs this season after playing a full season and part of another at Thomas College, but, due to transfer rules, she only began playing for CMCC in January.

Ouellette said she cherished the moment with Morong after the 66-48 conference championship victory over Southern Maine Community College.

“It was definitely a big one,” Ouellette, who scored 11 points in the win, said. “It just shows the connection; he brought me here, and he has been a big part of my basketball career.”


Morong and Ouellette have known each other since Ouellette’s sophomore year of high school, when Morong coached her during the AAU season.

Despite Ouellette’s familiarity with Morong, she decided to attend Thomas College in Waterville, where she played basketball and softball, after she graduated from Edward Little.

“Coach had recruited me my senior year, and I was on and off about it,” Ouellette said. “Once I left Thomas and figured out I was coming here, Coach wanted me to come to practices and stuff.”

Central Maine Community College’s Chantel Ouellette dives for a loose ball during the Yankee Conference championship game in Auburn on March 5. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

Morong said when Ouellette arrived in the fall, he knew she would be an impact player for the Mustangs once she became eligible to play after the Christmas break.

However, the thing Morong noticed the most when Ouellette arrived on campus and began practicing with the team was her demeanor.

“Skill-wise, it was Chantel as always, but we started to see her redevelop a love for basketball and a passion for working hard,” Morong said. “She fit in so well for our players, a lot she has played with or against during her high school career.”


Ouellette said she has been playing against Jade Smedberg, an Oxford Hills graduate, since she was in the third grade, and also had several rivalry battles with Lewiston graduates Emily Strachan and Jamyah and Myah Nicolas.

Ouellette said her new teammates’ work ethic helped renew her love for the sport.

“The team at Thomas, I wasn’t happy with that, so being here, everybody is great here,” Ouellette said. “My coaches, my teammates, I think that was a big thing. Being able to play with them, I know they are going to work hard, and it pushes me to work hard.”

When the second half of the season began in January, Morong slowly inserted Ouellette into the lineup. In her first appearance in a Mustangs uniform, she played seven minutes in CMCC’s first loss of the season against Northern Vermont University-Johnson. The following day, she played eight minutes in a 64-32 win over Vermont Tech.

Morong said Ouellette is a good defensive player, and so he put her in defensive situations during those two contests.

“She has been performing since the very first game she’s played for us, defensively taking offensive fouls and rebounding,” Morong said. “She has been getting it done since her opening tip.”


Ouellette said she learned how the Mustangs operate in those first two games.

“I was definitely rusty, I will say, but I got into the flow of it, to see how things are working, what needed to come from me,” Ouellette said.

In the final three games of January, she scored in double-digits and played 21 or more minutes in each contest.

Morong is happy to see Ouellette’s offensive game flourish, giving CMCC (26-2) another scoring option.

She scored 10 points in a 105-44 victory against New Hampshire Technical Institute on Feb. 11, and had a 14-point performance in a 91-39 win over Paul Smith’s College in the YSCC semifinals last Saturday, which was followed by the 11-point effort in the conference championship win over SMCC.

“She’s always been a capable offensive player,” Morong said. “I think here she found a new set of confidence because she has so many options around her. She doesn’t have to go and do it all.”

Heading into the national tournament, Ouellette is averaging 8.5 points in 13 games, an average that ranks second on the offensively balanced Mustangs.

Ouellette said that since he started coaching her in AAU, Morong has always put her in a position to succeed.

“The moment I started playing (for him), that was it: I knew he would always have my back and I would work hard for him,” Ouellette said.

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