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Veteran official John Shoppe hospitalized after suffering heart attack during game

Kevin Bennett | BDN
Kevin Bennett | BDN
Veteran high school basketball official John Shoppe of Lamoine participates in pregame ceremonies at the Bangor Auditorium on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013.
By Pete Warner, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — Longtime Eastern Maine basketball official John Shoppe of Lamoine remained in serious condition in the intensive care unit at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor on Sunday after suffering a heart attack Friday night.

“He’s at EMMC. He had a serious heart attack,” longtime friend Dave Ames, the secretary of the Maine Basketball Commission and the supervisor of tournament officials, said Saturday. “He’s resting comfortably.”

A nursing supervisor at EMMC said Sunday afternoon that Shoppe was considered in serious condition.

The 60-year-old Shoppe, who has been officiating for approximately 30 years, was working the Class B girls quarterfinal game between Camden Hills and Oceanside at the Bangor Auditorium when he became ill and asked to be removed from the game.

“He came to me about two or three minutes into the third period and he said, ‘I need a replacement, I’m having serious chest pains,’” Ames explained. “As soon as we got him out of the door, he looked terrible.”

Ames said Shoppe was attended to by Bangor Fire Department personnel at the Auditorium before was transported by ambulance to EMMC.

Chris Thornton was brought into the three-man rotation to fill Shoppe’s position in the crew for the remainder of the game.

Ames said some of Shoppe’s officiating friends were planning to go visit him at the hospital on Saturday.

Saturday was a busy day of basketball with a total of 21 tourney games played at sites in Bangor, Augusta and Portland.

Two major upsets occurred when the 13th-ranked Foxcroft Academy boys beat No. 5 Caribou 41-32 in an Eastern Maine Class B quarterfinal at the Bangor Auditorium while No. 7 Thornton Academy of Saco knocked off defending Class A state champ Deering of Portland, 49-40, in overtime in an Western Maine quarterfinal at the Portland Expo.

Former UMaine teammates reunited

Saturday’s quarterfinal action at the Bangor Auditorium featured coaching appearances by two former EM basketball standouts who were also college teammates and have remained lifelong friends.

Matt Rossignol of Van Buren and Dean Smith of Dover-Foxcroft again graced the building where they thrilled their fans back in the 1980s.

Rossignol, a two-time all-tournament pick and a three-time BDN All-Maine selection for the Crusaders, is the head coach of the Van Buren girls team. He is helping guide the fortunes of his daughter, high-scoring junior guard Parise Rossignol.

Smith, himself a two-time all-tourney choice and an All-Maine first-team honoree in 1986 for the Ponies, is an assistant coach under Dave Carey. The Foxcroft roster includes another Smith, Dean’s freshman son Hunter Smith.

The Smiths were in attendance Saturday night to support the Rossignols in the Crusaders’ game against Hodgdon. Afterwards the four of them sat together in the bleachers.

Smith and Rossignol were teammates at the University of Maine where both made a lasting effect on the program.

“We played together for three years and were roommates on the road,” Rossignol. “We’ve been great friends ever since.”

He explained that each served as the best man at the other’s wedding. However, living so far apart, they don’t get together often.

“We don’t get to see each other very much, which is too bad,” Rossignol added.

FA Ponies are battle-tested

During the postseason, there is no substitute for big-game experience.

Several key members of the Foxcroft Academy boys team have drawn on that dynamic in two postseason victories, including Saturday’s win over Caribou.

“In baseball they were in the state game, they were just in the state game in football and now in basketball they go play a big game. It’s all the same kids,” said veteran Ponies coach Dave Carey.

In November, Foxcroft won the Class C football state championship by beating Winslow. Last spring, the Ponies claimed the EM title and were state runners-up in Class B baseball.

“We have confidence,” said junior center Koby Kendall. “We’ve been in big situations before, so we know how to handle it.”

Spearheaded by dynamic senior guard Ryan Rebar, who also was a two-way football standout and star pitcher for Foxcroft, the team was able to maintain its focus and composure in posting their second straight upset.

“They kind of feed off that,” Carey said of the high-pressure situations. “They kind of enjoy it now, because the more times you do it, the more comfortable you get with it.”

Foxcroft’s next opportunity to contend with with playoff pressure comes Wednesday at 8:35 p.m. with a semifinal game against No. 1 Medomak Valley.

Like father, like daughter

It was a bit of deja vu Saturday afternoon at the Bangor Auditorium.

With Mount Desert Island leading by three points in the fourth quarter, the Winslow girls were content to sit back in their zone defense and allow the clock to run.

Coach Brent Barker’s Trojans opted to hold the ball and force the Black Raiders to play man-to-man. The player who wound drew the assignment during that stretch was MDI sophomore guard Sarah Phelps.

It wasn’t the first time a player with that name had been charged with helping wait out an opponent on the Auditorium floor.

Back in the late 1980s, while starring at John Bapst High School in Bangor, rangy guard Scott Phelps was occasionally given the same assignment by coach Bob Cimbollek, who wasn’t afraid to use the tactic to have the chance to run the “shuffle” offense against a man-to-man defense.

Scott Phelps is the father of Sarah Phelps and MDI boys junior guard Jon Phelps.

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