WATERVILLE — A season ago, the Colby College women’s basketball won just seven games.

This winter, however, the Mules needed just seven tries to equal that mark and a big part of their success has been a result of the play of juniors Mia Diplock and Carylanne Wolfington.

“They’ve been great leaders and great at just getting it done on the court,” Colby coach Julie Veilleux said. “…Both of them are more in similar roles but that leadership component stands out even more as juniors.

“I just think that they’ve been able to bring it together really well. They know what their strengths are and bring those strengths to the team even more consistently.”

Wolfington, a Hall-Dale High School graduate, leads Colby (10-3, 1-1 New England Small College Athletic Conference) with 15.9 points per game, while Diplock, a Cony grad, is averaging 13.6 points per contest.

That being said, the Mules have hit a bit of a rough patch as of late in going 3-3 in their past six games after starting the season 7-0.

Injuries have played a part in that, as Wolfington sprained her ankle in a 76-54 win over Wesleyan University Friday and was unavailable in a 62-61 loss to Connecticut College Saturday. Veilleux said she was unsure just how long Wolfington would be out.

“It’s a pretty bad ankle sprain, we’re just lucky she didn’t break it,” Veilleux said. “It’s going to be hard to tell early on, it just depends on when she starts walking on it normal then it can be real quick. She’s not quite walking normal yet, she’s been on crutches for a few days too.”

In addition to being without Wolfington, Colby has also been without junior Desi Smith all season due to a back injury. Last winter Smith was second on the team in scoring at 12.3 points per game.

The fact that Colby has managed to maintain a high level of success in Smith’s absence speaks to the depth the Mules have this season. Players like sophomore Caitlin Nolan — who is second on the team in scoring at 13.9 ppg — have seized the opportunity for more playing thus far.

“Caitlin still would have had a bigger role on our team,” Veilleux said, “but for her to really carry that load without a rotation that we would have anticipated, I’m proud of her efforts.”

• • •

Levi Barnes has been the go-to scorer for the Thomas College men’s basketball team from the moment he stepped on campus, but this winter he has taken his game to a new level.

Now in his junior season with the Terriers (5-8, 3-3 North Atlantic Conference), Barnes, of Skowhegan, ranked 10th in Division III in scoring at 23.7 points per game heading into Tuesday night’s game at Maine Maritime.

Barnes — who averaged 15.7 and 17.0 points a game in his first two seasons, respectively, in Waterville — was named the NAC Player of the Week on Monday after averaging 27.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.5 steals and 0.5 blocks between two games last week.

“He’s been the ultimate teammate,” first-year Thomas coach Geoff Hensley said. “He’s always been trying to help his teammates get better and when you have a player like that his teammates are going to do everything they can for Levi as well.

“They’re setting good screens for Levi, we’ve got an unselfish group that’s helping get the basketball to Levi to put him in a position to score. Levi has a great passion and a great love for the game, and that’s contagious.”

Barnes credited his teammate for his improved production, but also noted the work he put in during the summer to get better. In addition to playing in the Kennebec Valley YMCA league that features a number of current and former college players ranging from Division I to III, Barnes spent a great deal of time working out individually.

“I’ve spent countless hours working on my ball handling, my shooting ability, my scoring ability and I continue to work on my defense,” he said. “I have full confidence in myself and the coaching staff and my teammates to give me the confidence to score the ball like that.”

Not only has Barnes turned a corner, but the Terriers have as well now that they have gotten used to the new system put in by Hensley. After starting the season 1-6, Thomas has won three of its previous five games and is looking to make a push in conference play.

“Coach told us from day one that it’s going to be a process getting the concepts, getting the new offense, getting the new defense but just stick with it,” Barnes said. “Right now we’re finally starting to get our concepts of what we need to do on the offensive and the defensive end.”

• • •

In the last United States Collegiate Athletic Association poll, Central Maine Community College was ranked No. 3 and a number of former area high school standouts have played a part in that.

Leading the charge for the Mustangs (10-2, 7-0 Yankee Small College Conference) has been sophomore and Mt. Blue graduate Gabby Foy, who leads the team in scoring a 16.6 points per game.

“She has had a great year to start,” CMCC coach Andrew Morong said. “She’s definitely had to be more of a leader — both on and off the court — which isn’t an easy adjustment.”

Foy is not the only local athlete making an impact for the Mustangs, who will be looking to make the national tournament for the fourth straight season this winter.

Carrabec graduate Macy Welch, a freshman, is averaging 7.1 points a game in 14 minutes off the bench, while Alanna Atkinson, of Skowhegan, Anna Carrier, of Jackman, and Courtney Taylor, of Madison, are each seeing between six and 11 minutes in reserve roles for the Mustangs.

More local talent will be on the way for CMCC next season too, as Rangeley stars Seve Deery-DeRaps and Taylor Esty have also committed to join the Mustangs next season, along with Oxford Hills’ Anna Winslow. Deery-DeRaps and Esty have paced the Lakers to a 9-0 record in Western D this season.

• • •

In the same USCAA poll that has CMCC ranked No. 3, the University of Maine-Augusta is ranked No. 6.

The Moose (10-5, 4-1 YSCC) have been led by Richmond graduate Jamie Plummer, who is averaging a double-double with 20.3 points and 10.6 rebounds per game.

Monmouth’s Kylie Kemp is third on the team in scoring (10.3 ppg) and second in rebounding (7.9 rpg), while Erskine graduate Jessica St. Amand is also scoring in double figures at 10 ppg.

Evan Crawley — 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Evan_Crawley

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