Ella Lavigne, left, runs through drills with her Central Maine Community College teammates during Thursday’s practice. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

AUBURN — Ella Lavigne is only 10 games into her freshman season at Central Maine Community College, but coach Andrew Morong said she’s already one of the best players in the USCAA.

Her stats make a good case. She’s averaging a double-double with 20.4 points and 11.2 rebounds per game.

Lavgine, a Colorado native, is also the youngest player on the team at 17 years old, having graduated high school a year early to come to CMCC. She made that choice after having the credits to finish early and the desire to get to the next level.

“This year, I’m supposed to be a senior in high school, but I graduated a year early and I thought a smaller school would definitely be better for me,” Lavigne said. “I knew that this was a really good program, and it was really reputable.”

She holds two records at Fossil Ridge High School in Fort Collins, for most rebounds in one game (18) and most rebounds in a season (265).

The 5-foot-11 freshman excelled in her college debut Nov. 1 when she put up 24 points against Vermont State Lyndon.


“I figured she would have the potential to be the best player in the USCAA when she came for her recruiting visit — when we got to see her in the gym, we could tell that she was very, very special,” Morong said. “At 5-11, being able to go inside, outside, the way she passes the ball and she’s got such a high basketball IQ.

“The one thing standing in her way from being a Division-I basketball player is in the weight room. When she buys into that, she’s going to have all kinds of scholarship opportunities, and that was really easy to see during the recruiting process.”

Ella Lavigne runs through drills during the Central Maine Community College women’s basketball team’s practice Thursday in Auburn. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

For the Mustangs (9-1), Lavigne has started in 9 of the 10 games she’s played, has made 57.5% of her field-goal attempts and 75% of her free throws. She also averages 5.1 steals while only playing 23.6 minutes per game.

During the season opener against Vermont State Lyndon, Morong said he looked at his coaching staff and laughed in amusement that Lavigne was as good as they knew she could be. In that game, Lavigne scored eight of the first 10 points.

Lavigne, however, is not a stat-driven player, and she joked that wouldn’t even know her stats after some games unless her mom, Krista Lavigne, texted her.

Her season high for points so far is 31 points, which she has scored twice: against Berkeley on Nov. 10 and Nov. 28 versus UMaine-Augusta.


“Usually freshmen have a learning curve, and she’s in the middle of one right now,” Morong said. “But hers is not as steep as some of the other freshmen. She’s been able to hit the ground running, and it’s just really exciting to see.”

Morong also said Lavigne is extremely mature for her age, which only further proves how she was able to graduate high school a year early.

“We spent a lot of time getting to know her through the recruiting process, and we knew she was going to be on the younger side, but she is far more mature than her age says,” Morong said.

Morong is in his 12th year of coaching the Mustangs, and he said only time and championship opportunities will tell if Lavigne can go down with the CMCC program greats, but the potential is there as she proves herself the rest of this season.

Morong also said Lavigne is humble and that her main priority in a game is to secure a win for the team, not to pad her own stats. Her strength, he said, is that she’s able to adapt to what the team needs on a game-by-game basis.

Against UMaine-Augusta, Morong said the team was in foul trouble and needed Lavigne to take over the game. She did.


In other games, he said the team has needed her be more scrappy and “be on the boards and dive on the floor for loose balls.”

“I think she just has a natural sense of what needs to be done, and she’s just going to do it,” Morong said. “She just wants to win. That’s why I think she’s going to be one of the greats by the time she’s done here is because the team comes first. All of her stats right now, you would think looking at it that we would be generating those for her or through her, but that’s not how it happens here for anybody. A lot of what she does is instinct.”

Ella Lavigne, left, practices with her Central Maine Community College teammates on Thursday. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

Lavigne said her biggest support system is the team this year, and she applauds the players’ tight bond on and off the court.

“A really big thing is energy that we talk about,” Lavigne said. “It took a lot of starting to get to know each other, and outside of practice we all hang out with each other. There’s no drama or cliques, everyone is just friends.”

Her favorite memory from this season has been making TikToks in her apartment, where she lives with several of her teammates. She said even the players that don’t directly live with her will come in and hang out outside of team-related events.

One of Lavigne’s bigger statistics this season are her steals, which was unfamiliar territory in high school. Morong said they are indicative of CMCC’s playing style, which Lavigne said has helped increase her confidence in games.


“I think when I first started I was quieter, but I can definitely be a talker in a small group in our apartment and stuff,” Lavigne said. “I’ve been forced to be more talkative on the court, and am definitely becoming more talkative. My high school coach was watching the CM film and said to me, ‘Wow it’s good to see you cheering and celebrating,’ because we didn’t really have that a lot at my high school.”

Something she does miss about high school was her proximity to Dutch Bros coffee, which is a Colorado staple. Lavigne said she was ready to make the move — despite missing her familiar coffee chain — and decided to go as far as she could for college to push herself outside of her comfort zone.

Before she played basketball, she grew up playing soccer. She first tried basketball in fifth grade because her dad, Ernie Lavigne, suggested it, and she didn’t really become competitive until middle school.

Her mom was a soccer player, playing at the college level, and her dad a basketball player.

“College basketball has been a little different, I’m definitely more sore, and I’ve never worked this hard and pushed this hard,” Lavigne said.

She said she doesn’t yet have a plan yet for after she graduates from CM, but her main goal is to keep playing basketball and earn a scholarship to get the remainder of her college paid for, while doing what she loves.

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