NHTI claims YSCC crown, No. 2 seed for national tourney

By Mike Whaley

CONCORD – The NHTI men’s basketball team swept through the Yankee Small College Conference (YSCC) tournament with three wins, all on their home court, to claim the automatic berth in the USCAA Division II national tournament, March 9-13, in Richmond, Va.

The Lynx (20-4) were the YSCC’s top seed and they did not disappoint with wins over No. 8 Paul Smith, 109-71; No. 4 Great Bay CC, 95-78, and No. 6 Central Maine CC, 80-78. In the championship on Sunday vs. Central Maine, NHTI trailed 43-33 at the half, but rallied in the second half to pull off the win. Tournament Offensive MVP Sterling Blakely led five players in double figures with 17 points on 6 of 9 shooting. Also reaching double digits were Joseph Cantey (14) and Dahsan King, Richard Hartley and Rahsheen Caulk Jr. with 11 apiece. Tournament MVP Dontaveous Elder added eight points, seven boards and five steals, while Terrian Wester had eight points and 12 rebounds. CM’s Logan Myers scored a game-high 20 points. 

Central Maine had a 13-point lead (66-53) with 10:30 to play, but NHTI went on a 15-0 run as part of a bigger 27-12 surge to come from behind to win the game. CM upset No. 3 VTSU-Randolph and No. 2 SMCC to gain the championship game.

The Lynx will be the No. 2 seed at the national tournament, which opens Sunday. NHTI earns a bye and will play Monday against the Sunday first-round winner of the Southern Maine CC/Penn State Wilkes Barre game at 1 p.m.

In the semifinal win Saturday over Great Bay, King and Cantey scored 28 and 25 points, respectively, to pace the Lynx. Wester added 14 points and seven rebounds. Mpore Semuhoza led the Herons (18-8) with 25 points,  while Dover’s Kingley Breen added 21 and Theo Wolfe chipped in with 14. Great Bay was a borderline pick to the national tourney, needing to get to the conference final to likely punch a ticket there, which they were unable to do.

NHTI rolled over Paul Smith in the first round on Feb. 24 behind 23 and 22 points each from Cantey and King. Elder added 13 points and Wester had 10 points and 17 rebounds.

Check out the full photo gallery from NHTI’s big win on Sunday by Cindy Lavigne of Lavigne’s Live Shots below.

On the women’s side, YSCC champion Central Maine CC, UMaine-Augusta and SMCC all made it to the national tournament.

The all-conference teams were selected, and several NHTI and GBCC players were honored. On the men’s side, NHTI’s Wester and GBCC’s Breen made the first team, while NHTI’s Cantey and GBCC’s Wolfe were picked to the second team. Earning honorable mention was NHTI’s King.

For the women, GBCC’s Mary Paradis (Rochester) was named to the first team and teammate Madison Lovely (Fremont) was selected to the second team. NHTI’s Emma Broadstone was honorable mention.

📸 Cindy Lavigne, Lavigne’s Live Shots…