By George Ferguson/Havre Daily News Sportsfirstname.lastname@example.org
In sports you need to lose more than one game in a row to have a losing streak. So far this season the Havre High boys basketball team has managed to avoid any losing streaks.
The Ponies bounced back from a blowout loss to CMR on Thursday night by routing the Lewistown Eagles 72-41 Saturday night at the Havre High gymnasium.
Havre's intense pressure defense forced Lewistown into 19 turnovers on the night and led to a multitude of transition baskets that helped the Ponies cruise to the easy victory.
"The kids' intensity and effort was really good tonight," said HHS head coach Mark West. "They didn't show any signs from the CMR game, which was good. I thought we came out and played really hard and our pressure got to Lewistown early."
The first quarter would tell the tale for the Eagles as Lewistown surrendered nine consecutive points off of turnovers to finish the period. That 9-2 Havre run came on the heels of a 7-0 Eagle run that had allowed Lewistown to pull within one point at 9-8. However, a Jared Weigel layup off of a Marc Mariani steal capped the Pony run, giving them an 18-10 advantage.
The Eagles again faltered in taking care of the basketball in the second period. Turnovers sparked a 10-0 run by Havre that was kicked off by a Cory Brothers' baseline drive and capped off by a Jeremy Giardina layup off of another Mariani steal. Havre's lead widened to 12 points at 35-23 at halftime.
The Eagles committed 12 turnovers in the first half, and West said his squad's defensive effort led to the big halftime lead.
"Because of how hard the kids played tonight we were able to put a lot of defensive pressure on Lewistown," West said. "That allowed us to get a pretty big lead at halftime. We started off the third quarter pretty well, and we basically put the game away early in the second half."
Indeed, the third quarter dashed any hopes of a Lewistown comeback as the period started off with a Tyler Hedalen layup and a Brothers three-pointer. Mariani and Weigel also drilled three-pointers in the quarter, and the Havre defense held the Eagles to just five points in the period to put the game out of reach.
The fourth quarter saw Havre reserves Weigel and Patrick Wirtzberger continue to have hot hands for the Ponies as Havre outscored the Eagles 18-13 in the final stanza.
Weigel came off the bench to lead all scorers with 19 points, including three treys. Brothers chipped in with 15 points and Mariani added 11, including five steals.
"Jared Weigel played an outstanding game tonight," West said. "He came in and gave us a big lift, hitting a couple of threes, and he rebounded the ball really well."
"Marc and Cory also played well tonight," West added. "Cory was able to hit a couple of threes, which was nice to see, and Marc did a great job running the show again."
The Eagles (0-7) got a team-high 12 points from Kas Miller, and Jeremy Olsen added eight points, including a pair of treys.
The win over Lewistown closes out the 2003 portion of Havre's schedule. HHS goes into the Christmas break with a 5-2 record. West is looking forward to the break for a myriad of reasons, and although he admits his team has work to do, he likes the direction the Ponies are headed in.
"We really need this break right now because we played seven games in a short amount of time," West said. "This will give us an opportunity to get our legs back and get refocused.
"For the most part I really like where we're at as a team," West added. "We have some things that still need to be addressed, like rebounding. But right now I think we're feeling pretty good about where we are at this point in the season."
Havre will not return to action until Jan. 2 when the team travels to Browning. The Ponies will return home the following night to take on the Malta Mustangs.
Havre 72, Lewistown 41
Lewistown 10 13 5 13 - 41
Havre 18 17 19 18 - 72
Lewistown - Bob Goodwin 3, Jeremy Olsen 8, Brian Jeide 7, Mitch Braine 6, Kas Miller 12, Cole Kortom 5. Totals: 14 9-16.
Havre - Patrick Wirtzberger 4, Marc Mariani 11, Trent Normandy 2, Cory Brothers 15, Gary Wagner 1, Jeremy Giardina 4, Tyler Hedalen 8, Bret Magelssen 2, Jared Weigel 19, Tyson Parman 6. Totals: 27 12-18.
Total fouls: Lewistown 16, Havre 11. Fouled out: None. Technical fouls: Olsen. Three-pointers: Olsen 2, Jeide 2, Weigel 3, Brothers 2, Mariani 1.