Bangor, ME--Some players and teams get nervous when they step on the floor at the Bangor Auditorium for a tournament game.
That is not the case for Ryan Rebar and the Foxcroft Ponies.
Rebar scored 14 points in the final 10 minutes to lead the Ponies to a 41-32 victory over the Caribou Vikings Saturday afternoon.
Rebar pitched the Ponies to a class B Eastern Maine Championship in baseball last June. He was a key member of the Ponies football team that won the class C state championship this past November.
"There is a group of guys that have been through it in football and baseball. Even though it is a different sport when adversity strikes we know not to get flustered,"Rebar said. "When you play at the Auditorium you want to play your best and that is what we did tonight."
Kolby Kendall had 10 points, eight rebounds and two blocks in the first half to power the Ponies to a 19-14 halftime lead.
The Ponies knew they had to slow down Derek Richardson and Dayne Savage if they were going to have a a chance against Caribou.
Richardson was slowed by foul trouble in the first half and by a tough zone defense from the Ponies in the second half. Richardson played only five minutes in the first half. The Ponies held Savage to six points on 2-17 shooting.
"We had to focus on Savage and Richardson all week in practice,"Kendall said. "Having him (Richardson) out of the game (in the first half) was a big advantage."
Rebar scored 14 points in the final 10 minutes of the game and went 8-10 from the foul line in the fourth quarter to secure the victory for the Ponies.
"He (Rebar) is an unbelievable athlete in all three sports. He is really underrated. He is not out in the AAU circuit,"Foxcroft coach Dave Carey said. "He comes from Harmony, Maine, a small town. I think people under-appreciate him. He is a special athlete. Unbelievable baseball player, a great football player. As you can see he is a very good basketball player."
The Ponies enjoy playing in the big games no matter if it is baseball, football or basketball. Carey could see that his team was not intimidated by the tournament situation when they defeated Oceanside in a preliminary round game on Wednesday.
"Baseball they were in the state game, Football they were in the state game. These are all the same kids. They feed off it, they enjoy it,"Carey said. "The more times you do it the more comfortable you are. They are feeding off it because they know how much fun it is. I could tell that down in Rockland."
Kendall added, "We have been in big situations before so we know how to handle it."
Rebar recorded four assists, four steals and two rebounds for the Ponies. Kendall recorded 10 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks.
Hunter Smith recorded five points, five rebounds, four assists, two steals and one block. Kaleb Smith had four points and nine rebounds. Hunter Law chipped in with four points and four rebounds.
Foxcroft (10-10) will take on top seeded Medomak Valley in a class B boys semifinal game on Wednesday, February 20th at 8:35 p.m. The game can be seen live on MPBN.
Foxcroft came into the tournament as the number 13 seed. They needed to get hot at the end of the regular season and get help just to get to the tournament. The Ponies have now won six straight games.
"It is all about getting hot and we have got hot at the right time,"Rebar said. "We are buying into our coaches offense. We are really executing right now. It is great basketball and we hope to continue it."
Kendall added, "A few weeks ago we didn't even think we were going to be in the playoffs. We are taking advantage of it."
Richardson led the Vikings with nine points, six rebounds and two steals. Caribou finishes the season with a record of 14-6.