By George Ferguson/Havre Daily News Sportsemail@example.com
CHINOOK - The Havre High boys basketball team got its season off to a very fast start Saturday night.
The Ponies jumped all over the young Chinook Sugarbeeters and never looked back in an 84-44 win at the Chinook High School gymnasium.
The Ponies opened the 2004-05 season with an 8-0 run in the first quarter, eventually leading to a 19-9 lead after eight minutes of play. Seniors Ty Hedalen and Tyson Parman paced Havre's early surge by dominating the smaller Beeters inside.
As the second quarter got under way, Havre's pressure defense started to wear the Beeters down, forcing Chinook into 14 first-half turnovers.
Senior point guard Marc Mariani had six steals on the night, and he converted two straight thefts into breakaway lay-ups that pushed the HHS lead to 25-11. By the end of the first half, the Ponies had all but put the Beeters away, leading 52-21.
"I liked our effort tonight," said Havre head coach John Barnhorst. "The kids came out ready to play and it showed. We played good basketball in spurts tonight and at times we didn't. But this was a good game for us because it shows us the areas where we need to get better."
The third quarter got no better for the Beeters as Hedalen and Mariani combined to score 17 of the Ponies' 19 points in the period. Because of the lopsided margin, Barnhorst got a chance to play all 12 players that he dressed out.
"It was nice to be able to play everybody tonight," he said. "We got an opportunity to take a look at a lot of different kids and they all got some valuable minutes."
Hedalen paced the Ponies with a game-high 23 points, and Mariani added 18. Junior Jared Weigel also had a solid outing with 11 points, including a pair of 3-pointers. Marty Birky and Jordan Lybeck led Chinook with 12 points apiece.
"Ty Hedalen was really active underneath tonight," Barnhorst said. "And I also thought we did a good job defensively at times. In all, it was a pretty good start for us."
The loss means the Beeters start 0-1 on the young season. They will next be back in action on Dec. 11 when they host the Malta Mustangs.
Havre (1-0) will open conference play on Friday night when the team visits rival Belgrade. The Ponies will visit Livingston on Saturday night.
Havre 84, Chinook 44
Havre 19 33 19 13 - 84
Chinook 9 12 13 10 - 44
Havre -Patch Wirtzberger 5, Marc Mariani 18, Jeremy Giardina 4, Gary Wagner 9, Jared Weigel 11, Tyson Parman 8, Ty Hedalen 23, Tanner Veis 4, Mike Barton 2.
Chinook - Chad Beck 4, Marty Birky 12, Adam Hayes 10, Taylor Tollefson 2, Luke Whitney 5, Jordon Lybeck 12.
Three-point goals - Havre 5 (Wirtzberger 1, Weigel 2, Wagner 1, Mariani 1), Chinook 1 (Whitney), Total fouls - Havre 26, Chinook 12. Fouled out - none.