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Southern Maine Community College’s men’s and women’s basketball teams both participated in the national tournament in Uniontown, Pa., last week.
The men went 2-2 and wound up sixth. The Seawolves defeated PSU-Fayette, 84-73 (Coleman Findlay had 29 points) and Williamson, 66-63 (Findlay had 27 points and 13 rebounds), but lost to UC-Clermont, 109-76 and Berkeley (N.Y.), 100-74.
“It was a great experience,” said SMCC coach Matt Richards. “It’s always good to go to Nationals, but to go out, be competitive and win two games, it was tremendous. I was really hoping to win our first round game. I knew the caliber of teams that were there. Our kids exceeded the expectations and rose to the occasion. It says a lot about the program and how hard the kids work.”
There were a couple other highlights as Paul Holland (SMCC’s Liberty Mutual February Male Athlete of the Month) won the 3-point shootout and Findlay became the all-time leading scorer in program history with 1,713 points, passing Greg Smith (Class of 1996).
“Coleman’s a special kid,” said Richards. “He had a lot of potential, but you never know with a high school player coming in how they’ll adjust to the jump. He had a wonderful career, no question about it.”
SMCC hopes to build on this season and be even stronger a year from now.
“It wasn’t a smooth season,” Richards said. “There were bumps in the road. We had a four-game losing streak, but the kids turned it around. I think playing a tough regular season schedule paid off at Nationals.
“I think about five players who will be back. Four are graduating. Two had plans to be here for a year, then move on. We’ll have some experience. Those returning guys can lead the newer guys coming in. We won’t be starting over, but we will have some holes to fill. I feel good about our recruiting efforts and the kids talking with us who say they’re interested. Now, it’s kind of a waiting game.”
The women went 0-2, losing to Spalding, 94-38 (despite 18 points from Alisa Sweet) and also fell to PSU-Brandywine, 83-54 (Sweet had 19 points).
Jessica Truman, a freshman guard, was named SMCC’s Liberty Mutual February Female Athlete of the Month.
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @foresports