AUBURN, Maine—The Southern Maine Community College (SMCC) men's basketball team finished as runners-up in the Yankee Small College Conference (YSCC) Championship Tournament over the weekend—defeating Vermont Technical College (VTC) on Saturday, Feb. 23, but falling to NHTI on Sunday, Feb. 24.
Prior to Final Four action at the banquet awards ceremony, both senior captains Atencio Martin (Kittery, Maine) and Ryan Cloutier (Pelham, N.H.) were announced First Team All-Conference selections, and Martin YSCC Player of the Year. It was the first time in SMCC history that SeaWolves Basketball swept the YSCC Player of the Year awards.
View the photo gallery of the awards banquet HERE.
Semifinals: #3 VTC (74) vs. #2 SMCC (82)
Despite VTC's impressive field goal percentage (51.7), SMCC's relentless defensive strategy forced the opposition into 23 turnovers. In a contest that featured five ties and 14 lead changes, the SeaWolf starters did much of the heavy lifting gaining separating with an 11-2 run late in the second half.
Martin proved his value as Player of the Year with a 30-point performance on 12-21 shooting in 37 minutes of action. He added nine rebounds and four steals to an efficient state line. Sophomore Gregory Trinidad (Lawrence, Mass.) knocked down four threes on his way to 20 points and five assists. Junior captain Anderson Kavutse (Westbrook, Maine) also eclipsed double figures contributing 10 points.
VTC's Tyrone Hilson led his team with 19 points and 10 rebounds.
Finals: #2 SMCC (78) vs. #1 NHTI (90)
The conference regular season champions connected for 44.8 percent from beyond the arc and took care of the basketball issuing just four turnovers. The SeaWolves did well to keep pace firing 43.7 percent from the field taking their last lead with 15:12 left in the second. NHTI used an 11-2 run to move ahead for good and repeat as conference champions.
The SeaWolf starters accounted for all 78 points, each in double figures led by Martin's 22 points and 10 rebounds. Cloutier flushed 18 points followed by sophomore Jacobee Burpee's (Manchester, N.H.) 15 points—nine of which came in the final 10 minutes.
NHTI's J'Quavious Thurmond led the charge with a triple-double MVP showing—20 points, 22 rebounds, and 11 assists. Deric Jackson chipped in 18 points.
Following the contest, Kavutse was named Tournament Most Outstanding Offensive Player.
The SeaWolves extend their season earning an at-large bid to the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) Division 2 National Tournament beginning this weekend in Uniontown, Penn. The SMCC men will go in as the #4-seed to match up with #5 Johnson & Wales University- Charlotte. The quarterfinal tip-off is scheduled for Sunday, Mar. 3 at 8 p.m.
For more information including how to watch the tournament, visit: http://basketball.theuscaa.com/landing/index