George Ferguson/Havre Daily News Sportsfirstname.lastname@example.org
In high school basketball, there is no such thing as perfection. But on Saturday night in Great Falls, the Havre High girls basketball team played as close to it as a team can get, according to veteran head coach Dennis Murphy.
As a result, the Ponies stunned the No. 4-ranked Bison in resounding fashion 64-51 at Swarthout Fieldhouse in Great Falls.
"This was a very important win for our team," Murphy said. "It was just one of those nights when everything came together for us.
"Every player did something to help us win that game and we played very good basketball for four quarters."
The Bison actually got things off to a good start as they opened the contest on a 7-2 run, which enabled them to take a 15-10 first quarter lead. The Ponies got on track in the second quarter and were able to tie the game at 28-28 via an 18-13 run. Murphy believed that pulling even with GFH before halftime was very important in the victory.
"We got off to a slow start and then we played better in the second quarter," Murphy said. "For us to battle back and get close to them at halftime was huge for how we would play in the second half."
It was in the third quarter and the start of the fourth when the Ponies caught fire and all but put GFH away. Havre outscored the Bison 19-9 in the third stanza to take a 47-37 lead after three quarters.
Steph Flatau opened the fourth quarter with back-to-back three-pointers, which pushed the lead to 16 points at 53-37. The Ponies never looked back from there as they held the Bison in check the rest of the way.
"One of the biggest things about this win is that we did exactly what we wanted to do defensively," Murphy said. "We took them out of their flow offensively and they had to go inside. Even though they got some points inside on us, we wouldn't let them beat us from the perimeter and that completely took them out of what they wanted to do against us."
Havre benefited from a 56 percent shooting night from the field as its offense has continued to click in the last three weeks.
Jolene Fuzesy paved the way for the Ponies with a game-high 33 points. Fuzesy was an astounding 13 of 16 from the field. Flatau also had a fine all-around game with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Amy McLain chipped in with eight points and six assists.
The Bison were paced by Lauren Beck and Kirilynn Winkler with 14 points apiece.
"This win was a great all-around team effort," Murphy said. "Everybody that stepped on the floor played well when they were in the game. We just played great basketball, especially in the second half."
The win over GFH pushes Havre's record to 12-5 with one game left in the season. Havre is in third place in the Central A division, and depending on what happens next week, it could stay there or fall to fourth.
The Ponies will travel to Browning for their final regular season on Saturday afternoon.
Havre 64, GFH 51
Havre 10 18 19 17 - 64
Great Falls 15 13 9 14 - 51
Havre - Amy McLain 3 1-2 8, Steph Flatau 6 0-0 15, Alexa Lipp 1 0-5 2, Justine Erhard 2 0-0 4, Jolene Fuzesy 13 5-8 33, Whitney Barnekoff 0 2-2 2, Rebecca Hilliard 0 0-0 0, Kacy Herron 0 0-0 0, Alicia Overcast 0 0-0 0. Totals: 25 8-17 64.
Great Falls High - Sam Schermele 4 1-2 9, Sarah Stubbs 2 0-0 4, Patti Laabs 1 0-0 2, Brittany Deffinbaugh 2 0-0 4, Kirilynn Winkler 5 4-4 14, Mary Galloway 1 0-0 2, Lauren Beck 5 4-9 14, Jennifer Simonds 0 2-2 2. Totals: 20 11-18 51.
Total fouls: Havre 18, GFH 18. Fouled out: Schermele. Three-point goals: Flatau 3, Fuzesy 2, McLain 1. Rebounds: Havre 23, GFH 24 (Galloway 7, Winkler 6). Assists: GFH 10 (Schermele 6). Steals: GFH 17 (Schermele 5).