Girls basketball advances to quarterfinals on Simpson putback at buzzer in OT
The Ponies never led during regulation of their home playoff game against Central High School. The Lady Devils jumped out to a six-point first quarter lead and held on to the tenuous advantage for the majority of the game. With 1:34 left in the contest, the Ponies climbed to within 3 points. With 19.1 seconds left in regulation, they pulled within 2.
In their previous game, just six days prior, Foxcroft blew out Central to secure the team’s first home playoff game in recent years. But this was playoff basketball. This was a much harder-fought contest.
With the game on the line, the ball was in Grace Bickford’s hands. As time ticked away, it became evident that this possession would determine the outcome of the game. Crossing the ball over to her right hand, Bickford drove to the basket. Fouled. Two foul shots to come.
Bickford iced both. The game was going to overtime with a trip to the Cross Insurance Center and the Class B North Regional quarterfinals on the line.
The Ponies took their first lead of the game in overtime, but Central quickly answered to retake the advantage. With 1:18 left, Foxcroft pulled ahead 45-44. With 60 seconds left, the Ponies cashed 1 of 2 foul shots to go up by 2, but Central had the ball.
In this closely contested game, it was clear that whichever team had the ball last was going to go home victors. Maintaining possession, down by 2, Central drew up a play with 22 seconds left in overtime. As time ticked away, a Lady Devil drove. Fouled. Central connected on both foul shots. Game tied at 46.
With time ticking away, the Ponies drove the length of the court. 5…4…3… The Ponies heaved up a shot. It ricocheted off the rim. …2… Abby Simpson elevated. …1… Simpson threw up a putback shot…swished…game winner. On to the quarterfinals.
The Ponies will continue their postseason run at the Bangor Cross Insurance Center on Saturday at 3:05 as they take on Houlton High School.
Wrestling dominates at Regionals, advances 10 wrestlers to State Championship
The Foxcroft Academy wrestling team amassed an incredible 205.5 points at the Class B North Regional Wrestling Championship to best their closest competition by 49.5 points and to win the school’s ninth regional wrestling title since 2004.
“The best is yet to come,” said Coach Luis Ayala. “At practice, we talk about enjoying what you did yesterday, but not resting your hat on it. In order to achieve your goals, you must push yourself everyday.”
Antonio Ayala, Billy Brock, Conner Johnson, Brandon Weston, and Dustin Simmons, with regional champions R.J. Nelson, Zach Caron, Brandon Brock, Michael Pendriss, and Connor Holmes all advance to the State Championship by placing in the top four at the Regional tournament.
Brandon Brock and Michael Pendriss also reached exceptional personal milestones at the tournament. Pendriss reached his 100th career win in the finals, and Brock reached his 150th career win in the semifinals to become just the sixth wrestler in team history to accomplish the feat. “It’s always a special moment when someone reaches a milestone, but I think it’s even more special to do it at an event like this,” said Coach Ayala. “I am so happy and proud of them.”
The Ponies will travel to Oceanside on Saturday for the State Championship.
Small but potent girls swim team battles with Goliaths at PVCs, places admirable third
The Foxcroft Academy swim team arrived nine swimmers strong at the PVC Swim Championship on Saturday, February 6. Occupying just a small section of the team area, the Ponies were dwarfed by the teams that surrounded them.
The Pony swim squad may be small, but they pack a punch. Foxcroft racked up 10 top-five finishes in individual events and scored an additional 64 points in the relays to amass 186 team points for third, falling just two points shy of Class-A Bangor High School and team champion MDI.
Placing in the top five were Gabie Johnson (1st in 100-yard breaststroke and 2nd in 100-yard freestyle), Avery Carroll (2nd in 200-yard I.M. and 2nd in 100-yard backstroke), Jenna Clukey (2nd in 200-yard freestyle and 3rd in 100-yard butterfly), Elena Russo (5th in 50-yard freestyle and 5th in 100-yard backstroke), and Alice Russo (3rd in 100-yard backstroke and 5th in 100-yard freestyle).
The 200-yard medley relay and 200-yard freestyle relay teams also scored valuable points, and the 400-yard freestyle team of Avery Carroll, Alice Russo, Gabie Johnson, and Jenna Clukey reached the top of the podium, breaking the school record en route to a PVC crown.
“I am beyond impressed and proud that we placed 3rd with only nine swimmers and no divers to add points,” said Coach Rublee. “Our girls swam incredibly hard, and their hard work throughout the season showed!”
The Ponies will compete in the State Championship Swim Meet at Bowdoin College on Monday, February 15, at 11 am.
Foxcroft rides relays to 3rd place PVC-EMITL Championship finish
The Foxcroft Academy track team opened the Eastern Maine Indoor Track and Field League Championship meet with a dominant performance in the 4×800-meter relay. Five hours later they closed the meet with yet another dominant performance in the 4×200-meter relay.
Both relays were crowned PVC-EMITL champions. The 4×800-meter relay team of Tobias Hogfeldt, Paul Birtwistle, Gabe Piquette, and Chandler Rockwell bested the competition by more than 20 seconds, and the 4×200-meter relay team of Evan Chadbourne, Blaine Robinson, Hogfeldt, and Jason Eubanks ran away from the competition and scored ten team points, which vaulted FA from 5th to 3rd place in the team rankings after the final event.
“Good relays are a sign of tremendous team depth,” explained Coach Graham Pearsall. “To win a relay at a championship meet, a team can’t have just one or two guys. All four runners need to be very talented.”
Scoring points in individual events at the championship meet were Cooper Nelson (2nd in the mile and 4th in the 800), Nate Church (3rd in the long jump, 4th in the 200, and 5th in the 55), Rockwell (3rd in the 400), Hogfeldt (5th in the 800), and Chadbourne (6th in the 55).
The team collected 53 points on the night, bettering 11 teams in the process, ultimately bowing to just Class-A Brewer and Class-A Hampden.
“With States just five days away, it was good to see the team sharp and focused,” said Coach Pearsall. “We should put a very talented team on the track this weekend at States. I’m excited to see what they can do. This is a special group.”
Foxcroft will compete in the Class B State Championship meet at Bates College on Saturday.
Dankert goes off, cashes 10 threes to lead Ponies into postseason
The Foxcroft boys basketball team won three of their last four games to surge into the playoffs with considerable momentum. The Ponies’ final contest of the regular season and must-win game against Central High School was an offensive showcase.
Hunter Smith scored with ease from everywhere on the floor in the second half to record 25 points, and Drew Dankert was unconscious beyond the arch, connecting on 10 of 11 three-pointers. The attention that Smith’s versatility and Dankert’s sharpshooting drew from Central’s defenders also opened up the lane for Foxcroft’s big man, Max Santagata, who added 16 points of his own.
The Ponies enter the playoffs the eleventh seed in the Class B North region and faceoff against Caribou on Wednesday for a ticket to the Cross Insurance Center and the playoff quarterfinals.