By George Ferguson
The Malta High School gymnasium, old or new, has seemingly been a graveyard for Havre Blue Pony basketball teams over the years. And on Thursday night, it seemed as though the Mustangs had another Pony headstone ready to be put up.
With seemingly the entire Havre frontcourt in foul trouble late in the game, the Ponies were hanging on for their collective basketball lives. And that is when Steve Heberly, Justin Kegel and Cory Brothers combined to bring Havre back from the dead and push them to a 50-43 win in Malta.
With Brothers, Kegel and Ryan Lusin all having four fouls as the fourth period began and the Ponies down by six points, it was the sometimes quiet point guard Heberly who scored six points in less than two minutes to propel the Ponies to a 38-38 tie with three and a half minutes left in the game. It was Kegel's turn as he grabbed a Curt Leeds miss and converted a three-point play to give the Ponies their first lead since the first quarter at 40-38.
On the ensuing possession trip, Brothers came alive to put the nail in Malta's coffin with a three-pointer at the 2:25 mark that gave the Ponies 44-38. Brothers also went 4-4 from the foul-line in the final 30 seconds to shut the door on the Mustangs.
Brothers, who scored seven of his team-high 12 points in the final two minutes of the game, was in the midst of a horrible shooting night. He scored just three points in the first half while being saddled with three fouls.
Despite Brothers' and Lusin's foul troubles and shooting woes, the Ponies were able to hang in in the second quarter never falling behind by more than six points.
The two teams opened the second half trading baskets in the third period as Lusin got back into the swing of things with a couple of quick buckets. The Ponies managed to outscore the Mustangs 12-10 in the period despite Brothers sitting on the bench after picking up his fourth personal foul at the 4:50 mark in the period.
Along with Brothers' 12 points the Ponies got 10 from Lusin and nine from Kegel. Heberly and sophomore Marc Mariani also turned in solid games with eight points apiece. As a team the Ponies shot 16-38 from the field, but shot a solid 16-20 from the charity stripe.
The Mustangs were paced by Mark Slade's game-high 13 points. Steven Green and Vance Kielb chipped in with eight points apiece in the losing effort.
The Ponies will host the fourth-ranked Browning Indians tonight at 7:30 p.m. in their final home game of the season at the Havre High gymnasium. The game can be heard 610 KOJM-AM.