April 09, 2020
BANGOR DAILY NEWS (BANGOR, MAINE

Laita sparks Ponies> Strong start key

ORONO – Somebody tell the Foxcroft Academy Ponies that they’re supposed to spend time practicing a new basketball technique before they can use it perfectly in game situations.

Apparently, the Ponies don’t understand that – they’ve only been using a full-court defensive scheme for the last week in practice. They tested it against Orono Friday night and came away with a 68-54 victory.

“We’ve been working hard on it in practice,” said Foxcroft’s standout center Nate Laita. “We expected them to play tough defense so we knew we had to play tough, too.”

Laita tallied 20 points and 15 rebounds – the most on either team. Laita wasn’t the main beneficiary of the press, though, as he got most of his points under the basket.

Foxcroft guard Dustin Kimball and forward Andy Lizotte had the most success with getting offense off the press – Kimball finished with six rebounds, five assists, four steals, and 11 points, the second highest on the team. Lizotte grabbed seven rebounds and scored 10 points, including seven in the third quarter.

But it was Laita who lit up the Ponies with a 15-point first-half performance, scoring nine in the first quarter.

“I expect him to play hard, smart, long and to stay within our defense,” Foxcroft coach Paul Withee said. “He’s done those things all season for us.”

The Ponies were in control during the first and much of the second quarter. But the Riots, who also went with the press, started to catch on to the Ponies’ defensive scheme, although by then it may have been too late.

“Our legs were gone,” Orono coach T.J. Maines said. “We were very tired. We just didn’t have the effort that we needed.”

The Riots’ exhaustion, Maines said, may have been the result of a tought 80-65 loss to Class A Old Town the night before.

“[The Ponies] were fresher than we were. We were making mistakes that we normally don’t make,” he added.

Although Maines said the Riots were showing the effects of the relentless Foxcroft press in the second quarter, they managed to keep the game within five points. Ian Torrey fueled Orono with eight points in the quarter and finished game with the Riots’ team-high 13 points.

Foxcroft saw its lead – at one point 11-2 – cut to 29-24 at the end of the half.

The Ponies threw a half-court trap at the Riots in the second half and Foxcroft gradually pulled away for good. Laita was quiet, scoring just five points. Kimball picked up the slack and put in seven points in the fourth quarter.

Orono got most of its scoring from David Means and Joel Johnson, who both scored 12 points.

Ponies 68, Red Riots 54

Foxcroft Academy (9-5) Orono (2-10)

Name G AG F AF TP Name G AG F AF TP

Lander 2 4 4 4 8 Doucette 1 3 2 2 4

Hartford 1 3 0 1 2 Enos 1 5 0 1 2

Oakes 1 7 0 0 2 Means 4 9 3 4 12

Clawson 2 3 0 0 4 Wade 1 5 1 2 4

Kimball 5 9 1 2 11 Johnson 4 16 2 2 12

Robbins 0 2 0 0 0 Bishop 1 2 0 0 2

Lizotte 4 8 0 1 10 Torrey 6 10 1 4 13

Sands 0 0 0 0 0 Markowsky 0 0 0 0 0

Stevens 3 3 0 0 6 Chandler 1 1 2 2 4

Grant 2 7 0 0 5 Stinson 0 2 1 2 1

Laita 9 16 2 3 20

Totals 29 62 7 11 68 Totals 19 53 12 19 54

Foxcroft Academy 17 29 49 68

Orono 10 24 33 54

3-pt. goals: Foxcroft (3-7): Hartford 0-1, Oakes 0-1, Lizotte 2-2, Grant 1-3; Orono (4-17): Means 1-4, Wade 1-2, Johnson 2-10, Bishop 0-1

Attendance: 150

Preliminary: Orono JVs 79, Foxcroft 52


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