By George Ferguson/Havre Daily News Sports/ email@example.com
CHINOOK - The Havre High boys basketball team served notice early on Thursday night in Chinook that it can play defense.
The Blue ponies forced a struggling Chinook Sugarbeeter team into a multitude of first quarter turnovers which paved the way for a 97-56 rout in high school basketball action.
The Ponies jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead on the Beeters and extended their lead with another 6-0 run midway through the first quarter thanks to three straight Chinook turnovers.
Both Havre High head coach Mark West and Chinook head man Scott Friede agreed that those early minutes set the tone for the rest of the contest.
"Our kids came out and played really hard and really got after them on defense early," West said. "I think we were able to take advantage of Chinook's youth at the guard position and that kind of set the tone for the rest of the game."
Said Friede: "Havre's quickness and athleticism really got to us early in the game. They forced us into a lot of turnovers and as a result we never got into a rhythm on either end of the floor."
By the time the dust settled on the first quarter, the Ponies had built a 24-10 lead and would never look back.
Havre opened the second period with a Brett Magelssen turnaround jump shot and a Cory Brothers alley-oop dunk that sparked a 21-12 run as the lead ballooned to 23 points at halftime, 45-22.
The second half got much rougher for the Beeters as Havre continued to feed off of Chinook turnovers. Magelssen and point guard Marc Mariani continued to have hot hands for the Ponies, scoring 30 points in the third quarter to take a 75-38 lead going into the games final eight minutes.
The Beeters backup shooting guard Ryan Reid managed to find his mark in the final period, connecting on several long three-pointers. But it was far from enough as the Ponies closed the game out by outscoring the Beeters 22-18 in the final quarter.
"Havre's quickness on the perimeter was the big key tonight," Friede said. "They took away our ability to go inside to our post players and we could never get on track. (Havre) looks like a very good basketball team right now."
While the final score indicated a good shooting night for the Blue Ponies, it was the intensity and defensive effort of his team that West noticed most.
"I liked our effort the entire game tonight," West said. "We played very hard and very good on defense at times. We still have a ways to go defensively, but the effort from all of our kids was tremendous."
Brothers led the Ponies in scoring with 15 points, while Tyler Hedalen added 14. The Havre High bench had a good night led by Jared Weigel's 12 points while Tyson Parman scored 11 points and Magelssen added 10. In all, 11 Ponies made it into the scoring column on the evening.
"We had a lot of kids play well tonight," West said. "Marc Mariani played an all-around great game and Tyson Parman and Bret Magelssen gave us some great minutes off the bench.
"I just thought that we played much better as a unit tonight than we did last weekend," West added. "Hopefully, this is the start of us getting better at playing together as a team and we can continue to have some success."
The Beeters got 15 points from Adam Hayes and Reid dropped in 14 points including four treys.
"It will be interesting to see how our kids respond to this game," Friede said. "We don't really have a lot of time to dwell on this. We have to get over it fast because we have some very tough games ahead of us.
The Beeters are now 0-4 on the season and will seek their first win when they travel to District 1B foe Cascade Saturday night.
The Ponies (2-1) will be back in action tonight when they visit the Harlem Wildcats in Harlem. Tip-off between the Ponies and Wildcats is slated for 7:30 p.m.
Havre 97, Chinook 56
Havre 24 21 30 22 - 97
Chinook 10 12 16 18 - 56
Havre - Patch Wirtzberger 4, Marc Mariani 10, Trent Normandy 3, Cory Brothers 15, Gary Wagner 8, Jeremy Giardina 6, Tyler Hedalen 14, Bret Magelssen 14, Jared Weigel 12, Tyson Parman 11.
Chinook - Chad Beck 2, Nate Ranstrom 6, Dillon Davies 3, Adam Hayes 15, Kelan Broadhead 6, Tad Darrah 3, Ryan Reid 11, Levi Blankenship 2, Luke Whitney 3, Marcus Birky 5.