By Ryan Divish/Havre Daily News Sports Editorfirstname.lastname@example.org
Full-court pressure defense can be a bit of a double-edged sword. Sure it can lead to turnovers and easy baskets when it is executed right.
However, a properly prepared opponent can exploit the pressure and get plenty of easy baskets for themselves.
Fortunately for the Havre High School girls basketball team, it has more than enough forms of defensive pressure that most opponents can't prepare for them all.
The Ponies used a variety of defenses and a balanced offensive attack to pick up a 81-45 win over the Chinook Sugarbeeters Thursday night at the Chinook High School gymnasium.
In the last meeting, Havre used a stifling full-court pressure to pick up a 66-50 win over the Beeters, spurred by a 25-6 first quarter.
Chinook was a little more prepared for the pressure this time around. The Beeters used their height to throw over the top of the Ponies man-to-man pressure for several easy scores.
"Chinook did a really good job of handling our pressure in the first quarter," said HHS head coach Dennis Murphy. "They threw over the top and it resulted in at least four easy layups that I remember."
While the Beeters were on their way to a 17-point first quarter, the Havre offense also came out clicking. The Ponies tallied 24-first quarter points as senior Alicia Overcast and Jolene Fuzesy were hot early, scoring a combined 17 points.
"Alicia started us off really well," Murphy said. "Jolene is such a good shooter that we can get off to a good start just by getting her attempts."
It was a solid first quarter, but Murphy wasn't pleased with the slim lead.
"We were giving up points about as fast we were getting them," Murphy said. "Chinook was really prepared for our man pressure so we switched to zone pressure in the second quarter to see if it would cause them some problems."
Indeed, Chinook was stung squarely by the turnover bug and was held to just six points in the quarter. Havre's bench sparked the run with its defense.
"Our bench was definitely the difference," Murphy said. "Our second unit has been playing very well in practice this week. It was good to see that carry over into game situations."
With the Ponies up 38-23 at halftime, Murphy switched defenses gain to start the third quarter, hoping to keep Chinook's offense out of sync. But it worked just the opposite as the Beeters opened with the first three baskets of the half to cut the Pony lead to 10.
"We came out trying to run our half-court trap, but our rotation on it was very poor," Murphy said. "It led to some more easy baskets. After that I elected to just go with our 2-3 zone and force them to beat us from outside."
With their size neutralized by the zone, Chinook was forced to settle for long jumpshots, far from its offensive forte.
Havre continued to roll offensively, scoring 21 points in the quarter, pushing the lead back to 59-40.
In the fourth quarter, Havre stayed in its zone with its bench players not only playing well defensively, but also getting into the scoring column. Reserves scored all but eight of Havre's 22 points in the quarter.
"It was good to see our bench girls score some," Murphy said. "Whitney Barnekoff and Rebecca Hilliard had nice nights and Justine Erhard also had a good night. With three games on the weekend, they know they're going to be playing some minutes this weekend."
Fuzesy led the Ponies with a game-high 31 points including five three-pointers. Overcast chipped in with 14 while Barnekoff and Hilliard finished with eight and nine points respectively. Erhard chipped in with seven.
Kelsey Crampton paced the Beeters with 11 points. Whitney Lybeck and Tiffany Cuerth added eight points each for Chinook.
Havre will travel to Glasgow tonight return home on Saturday to face Malta in its final home game of the season. Saturday will also be senior night as Havre's two seniors, Fuzesy and Overcast, will be honored. Tonight's game can be heard on 610 KOJM-AM.
Chinook will travel to Glasgow on Saturday night and the game can be heard on 101.3 KRYK-FM on at 7:30 p.m.
HAVRE 81, CHINOOK 45
Havre 24 14 21 22 - 81
Chinook 17 6 17 5 - 45
Havre - Alicia Overcast 5 3-4 14; Amy McLain 2 0-0 4; Steph Flatau 1 0-2 2; Kelsey Evans 1 0-0 2; Kacy Herron 1 2-2 4; Justine Erhard 2 3-3 7; Jolene Fuzesy 13 0-0 31; Whitney Barnekoff 4 1-1 9; Rebecca Hilliard 4 0-0 8. Totals: 33 9-1281.
Chinook - Monica Thackeray 2 0-0 4; Whitney Lybeck 4 0-0 8; Anna Schellin 3 0-0 6; Tiffany Cuerth 4 0-3 8; Kayla Erskine 3 2-2 8; Kelsey Crampton 5 1-1 11; Georgia Barber 0-0 1-2 1. Totals: 21 3-8 45.
Three-point goals - Fuzesy 5, Overcast 1. Total Fouls - HAV 18, CHI 15. Fouled out - none.