By Ryan Divish/Havre Daily News Sports Editoremail@example.com
Even with all of the mistakes, missed shots and missed opportunities as far as Havre-Chinook girls basketball games go, this one wasn't too ugly.
In the end, the Ponies missed fewer layups, committed fewer turnovers, while forcing the Beeters into well over 25 turnovers to pick up a 66-50 win at the HHS gymnasium.
"It wasn't too bad for a Havre-Chinook game," said Havre High head coach Dennis Murphy. "I've been in a lot of games with them where the final score was 32-31."
Havre made sure there was no chance for a low score early on thanks to a stifling full-court press. The Ponies forced the Beeters into at least a dozen turnovers in the first quarter, as they stormed to a 22-6 lead.
The lead could have been even more, but Havre missed several shots from point-blank range after forcing the turnovers.
"We started off the game with a lot of intensity of defense," Murphy said. "I don't know how many turnovers we forced, but it was bundle. But we didn't do a very good job of converting them into points. The effort was there. But if we convert those baskets it's a different game."
Instead, Chinook crawled back into the game using its size to throw over the Havre press and get some easy baskets.
Sophomore Georgia Barber and junior Whitney Lybeck keyed the run. Barber came off the bench to score eight points in the second quarter, while Lybeck added six as Chinook cut the deficit to 37-23 at halftime.
The Beeters carried the momentum from the first half into the second half, as they opened the third quarter much the same way they ended the second. Chinook continued to pound the ball inside and control the offensive boards.
"They're the most physical team we've played so far this season," Murphy said. "Their size really caused some matchup problems."
Chinook outscored Havre 14-8 in the third quarter to pull within eight points at 45-37 to end the quarter.
The Beeters continued to rally, tying the game at 45 with 6:31 remaining in the fourth quarter on a layup from Kelsey Crampton.
Murphy called a timeout to calm his troops and put the full-court press back on and his team responded. On four consecutive possessions, the Beeters failed to get it past half court and this time the Ponies capitalized on the turnovers. A pair of jumpshots from Jolene Fuzesy and scores from Steph Flatau and Justine Erhard pushed the lead back to eight.
"We dug ourselves too big of a hole early on," said Chinook head coach Mark Roseberry. "It's tough to crawl out of one against a team like Havre."
Havre ratcheted up the defensive pressure even more, forcing a couple more turnovers to push the lead to double figures.
"They kind of had the deer in headlights look," Murphy said of the Chinook guards. "Our kids really got after them defensively. It's what we want to do. We know we have a size disadvantage and playing that way helps offset it some."
Said Roseberry: "We prepared for the pressure especially, the half-court trap, but we just didn't do a very good job of executing it. Havre shoots the ball very well, which doesn't allow teams to make many mistakes."
Fuzesy finished with a game-high 27 point, while Steph Flatau added 12.
"Amy McLain had another solid floor game for us and Jolene did a good job of keeping the ball alive to get some rebounds," Murphy said. "But we didn't have much continuity with our substitutions. Still, I was happy with the effort from all of our kids. What more can I ask? We missed some wide-open looks, but I think we were fatigued from battling their size."
Said Roseberry: "I didn't think Jolene scored that many points. But she's always in there getting the job done. She's not just a shooter, she does other things well. She's a complete player."
Havre 66, Chinook 50
Chinook 6 17 14 13 - 50
Havre 20 17 8 21 - 66
Chinook - Monica Thackeray 1, Whitney Lybeck 12, Anna Schellin 2, Kayla Erskine 2, Kelsey Crampton 13, Georgia Barber 14, Brittany Williams 6.
Havre - Amy McLain 7, Steph Flatau 12, Kelsey Evans 1, Alexa Lipp 9, Justine Erhard 6, Jolene Fuzesy 27, Rebecca Hilliard 2.
Three-pointers - Flatau. Total Fouls - Chinook 21, Havre 16. Fouled out - Crampton.