June 18, 2018
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Foxcroft upsets Caribou, Medomak Valley holds off Camden Hills to reach semifinals

By Pete Warner, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — It took the Foxcroft Academy basketball team quite a while this winter to make the transition from football to basketball.

All of a sudden, nobody wants to play the Ponies.

Thirteenth-seeded Foxcroft Academy held Caribou without a field goal for more than 9½ minutes Saturday afternoon, setting a low-scoring tone for its 41-32 upset quarterfinal victory in the Eastern Maine Class B boys basketball quarterfinals at the Bangor Auditorium.

Coach Dave Carey’s Ponies (10-10) advance to play No. 1 Medomak Valley of Waldoboro (17-2) a 52-47 winner over No. 8 Camden Hills on Saturday, in Wednesday’s 8:35 p.m. semifinal.

In the afternoon game, Foxcroft used an aggressive 2-3 zone defense to take No. 5 Caribou out of its offensive rhythm.

The Ponies did a good job of clogging up the middle and made sure coach Chris Casavant’s Vikings (14-6) had to make some perimeter shots. Caribou shot 23 percent (9 for 39) from the field, going 4 for 21 from the 3-point arc.

The effort was indicative of Foxcroft’s late-season play.

“It almost got away from us before we ever had a chance to want it,” said Carey, who thinks his team initially was burned out from a long football season that ended in the state title game.

However, the big-game experience from football and baseball came in handy in the tournament setting.

“They’re feeding off that,” Carey said. “They know how much fun it can be and they’ve been successful playing in some of those big games.”

Senior guard Ryan Rebar was the catalyst for the Ponies. He scored six straight points late in the third quarter, including a driving flip-up shot with one second left that gave FA a 29-20 lead.

Caribou couldn’t overcome a span of 9½ minutes without a basket and the patient Ponies milked the clock and made most of their free throws to clinch the win.

Rebar finished with a game-high 18 points, including 12-for-17 foul shooting, while junior center Koby Kendall posted a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds. Freshman Hunter Smith added five points and six rebounds.

Foxcroft overcame 18 turnovers and 11 missed foul shots.

Derek Richardson paced Caribou with nine points and seven rebounds and Dayne Savage finished with nine points. Cody Herbert pulled down seven rebounds for the Vikings, who shot.

The Ponies outrebounded the Vikings 41-32.

In the evening contest, rivals Medomak Valley and Camden Hills played another nail-biter after two tight regular-season meetings.

Six-foot-8 center John Murray poured in a game-best 25 points and yanked down 16 rebounds to power coach Nick DePatsy’s Panthers, who won 63-60 on Dec. 11 in Waldoboro and 95-91, in four overtimes, Jan. 31 at Rockport.

“It was pressure. Everyone was chest-to-chest the whole night,” Murray said of the rematch.

“We just knew this quarterfinal was going to be tough and, luck of the draw, we matched up with them in the quarterfinals,” he added.

This time, the outcome came down to the foul line. Medomak Valley went 21 for 34 from the line, including a 12-for-18 performance by Murray, while Camden Hills (13-7) converted only 16 of 32 foul shots.

“If you’d told me at the beginning that [52] was going to be the score for them, I’d say we’d have won,” said ’Jammers coach Jeff Hart. “We had a lot more opportunities to make free throws and we didn’t.”

It was a seesaw affair most of the way, but Medomak finally took the upper hand on Jonathan Hendrickson-Belloguet’s three-point play that made it 43-40 with 4:32 left. The Panthers never relinquished the lead after that, despite some determined play from senior Connor Hart (13 points).

His driving basket with 37 seconds left cut the deficit to 49-47, but Micah Williamson made two of four from the line to help Medomak hold on.

“We kept our head and that’s one thing that we’ve really been working on and focusing on,” DePatsy said. “If you lose your head out here for one possession, it can cost you a game.”

Freshman Nick DePatsy, the coach’s son, scored eight points, Hendrickson-Belloguet tallied seven and Ryan Ripley (8 rebounds) and Micah Williamson (5 rebounds) added six points each.

Medomak Valley outrebounded Camden Hills 34-25.

The Windjammers were paced by 17 points and five rebounds from Jason Kuhn, while Chandler Crans netted 10.

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