By George Ferguson/Havre Daily News Sports/ firstname.lastname@example.org
The Havre High boys basketball team left a decisive punctuation mark on the Havre/Chinook basketball rivalry Thursday night at the Havre High gymnasium.
In the last meeting between the two schools on the basketball court, the Ponies walloped the Beeters, 77-40, putting an end to the long-standing basketball rivalry.
Despite being outgunned all night, Chinook played admirably at the start of the contest, keeping the Ponies from completely running away with the game in the opening minutes. The Ponies had built a 10-2 lead on back-to-back three pointers by Jared Weigel. But Chinook forward Ted Darrah kept the Beeters close by connecting on consecutive baskets of his own.
The Beeters managed to handle Havre's suffocating defense early, which is something they didn't do in their first meeting with Havre back in December.
Still, the Ponies defense would indeed get to the Beeters near the end of the first quarter. By quarters end, Havre had forced the Beeters into nine turnovers, most of which resulted in easy transition baskets for the Ponies. Havre closed the quarter on a 13-2 run giving them a commanding 26-10 lead.
"You have to give Chinook a lot of credit for the way they played tonight," said HHS head coach John Barnhorst. "they came in here with a good game plan and they were very well prepared for what we were going to do tonight.
"But I think we played a great first half of basketball," Barnhorst added. "In the end, I think our athleticism was just too much for them. But they never gave in and they played hard right to the end of the game."
If the end of the first quarter was tough on the Beeters, then the second and third quarters would get down right disastrous. Havre continued to apply defensive pressure that forced the Beeters into a multitude of bad passes and missed shots. The Ponies were able to also shuffle in fresh bodies to keep up the intense pressure.
Barnhorst used 13 different players on the night. Offensively, the Ponies used their size to overwhelm Chinook. Ty Hedalen scored eight of his game-high 21 points in the second quarter and 6-7 junior Mike Barton came in and gave the Ponies another six points in the period.
Havre ripped off another 12 unanswered points midway through the second quarter en route to a 46-18 halftime lead. The Ponies tacked on 18 more points in the third quarter while holding the Beeters to just seven, making the score 64-25 heading into the final stanza.
"I thought that we were really sharp in the first half," Barnhorst said. "We executed our offense really well, and we shot the ball for a pretty high percentage. We were definitely very good offensively tonight."
Barnhorst sat down his starters for good midway through the third quarter and Chinook managed to outscore Havre 15-13 in the final period to close the final margin some. Still, Barnhorst said that getting to play so many players was invaluable for the future of his program.
"Tonight was great experience for a lot of our younger kids," Barnhorst said. "But it is also nice to be able to play everybody because all these kids come to practice and work hard every single day. It is nice to be able to reward them with a lot of playing time."
Aside from Hedalen's 21 points, Barton scored a career-high 14 points. He also grabbed seven rebounds and blocked four shots. Barnhorst was more than pleased with the junior's efforts.
"Mike (Barton) played really well tonight," Barnhorst said. "He is gaining confidence every night and he is going to be big for us as the season goes on."
Marc Mariani and Tyson Parman also chipped in with nine points a piece, while Mariani dropped several beautiful assists throughout the contest. The Beeters got a team-high seven points from Adam Hayes and six a piece from Chad Beck and Taylor Tollefson.
The loss drops Chinook's overall record to 1-7 on the season. The No. 2 ranked-Blue Ponies are now 7-1 overall. They will be back in action tonight at 7:30 p.m. when they visit Lewistown. Havre will be back at home on Saturday night when they host Malta at 5 p.m.
Havre 77, Chinook 40
Chinook 10 8 7 15 - 40
Havre 26 20 18 13 - 77
Chinook - Chad Beck 6, Mart Birky 5, Adam Hayes 7, Taylor Tollefson 6, Tad Darrah 4, Dallas Miller 3, Luke Whitney 4, Jordan Lybeck 5.
Havre - Marc Mariani 9, Coda Tchida 2, Jeremy Giardina 3, Gary Wagner 4, Jared Weigel 8, Tyson Parman 9, Ty Hedalen 21, Tanner Veis 3, Mike Barton 14, Scott Miller 2, Logan Grant 2.
Three point goals - Havre 4 (Mariani, Giardina, Weigel 2), Chinook 0. Total fouls - Havre 15, Chinook 13. Fouled out - none.