By George Ferguson/Havre Daily News Sportsemail@example.com
After a dramatic win over the CMR Rustlers on Thursday night in Havre, it would have been easy to think that the Havre high boys basketball team may have been set up for a big letdown when it traveled to Butte on Saturday night to take on the Butte Central Maroons.
For the Maroons, there would be no such luck. The Ponies used a suffocating full-court press that harassed the Maroons all night long en route to a 68-53 Central A conference win.
"I think our pressure got to them midway through the first quarter," said HHS head coach John Barnhorst. "We forced them into some turnovers that led to some easy baskets and that continued throughout the second half."
The Ponies jumped out to a 19-8 first-quarter lead and scored 21 points in the second quarter to build an 18-point lead at intermission, 40-22. Havre also benefited from going inside to Ty Hedalen and Jared Weigel, which Barnhorst said was a point of emphasis all night.
"We really made going inside a big part of our game plan, especially in the second half," Barnhorst said. "We put Jared Weigel in the post and he had a really big night. I think that really wore Butte Central down and forced them into some foul trouble in the second half."
Havre continued its offensive onslaught in the third quarter. The Ponies tacked on another 21 points, building a 60-37 lead after three quarters. Barnhorst was able to sit his starters in the fourth quarter as the Ponies cruised to the easy victory.
Weigel scored a game-high 25 points and Hedalen added 15 points Junior center Mike Barton came off the bench to score seven points. The Maroons got 22 points from Matt Pokorny, but Shaugn McKeon, the Central A's leading scorer was held to just seven points.
"Gary Wagner did a great job of guarding McKeon most of the night," Barnhorst said. "So did everyone else who guarded him.
"I thought Mike Barton also played really well this whole weekend," he added. "He is playing with a lot more confidence than he was earlier in the season."
Barnhorst was also proud of the way his team played considering the road trip, the early start time and the emotions following the CMR game.
"These kids knew that BC was playing well and that this would be a tough game for us," Barnhorst said. "We were really focused and the kids were ready to play right at the start of the game."
The Ponies (6-1, 4-0) will return to action on Thursday night when they host Chinook at 7:30 p.m. at the HHS gymnasium. Havre will travel to Lewistown on Friday night before returning home to face Malta on Saturday.
Havre 19 21 21 7 - 61
Central 8 14 15 16 - 53
HAVRE (4-0, 6-1) Patrick Wirtzberger 2-3 3-3 7, Marc Mariani 1-2 4-8 6, Coda Tchida 0-1 0-0 0, Scott Miller 0-0 2-4 2, Jeremy Giardina 0-3 0-0 0, Gary Wagner 2-3 3-3 6, Jared Weigel 7-14 10-11 25, Tyson Parman 0-2 0-0 0, Tyler Hedalen 6-9 3-5 15, Mike Barton 3-3 1-4 7. Totals 21-40 25-37 68.
BUTTE CENTRAL (2-1, 5-2) Jake Stagnoli 2-4 0-1 4, Shaughn McKeon 3-9 0-0 7, Matt Pokorny 6-14 9-9 22, Matt Ritter 0-4 0-1 0, Kevin O'Leary 3-3 1-3 7, Stephan Burns 1-6 3-4 5, Alex Murphy 3-10 2-2 8. Totals 18-52 15-20 53.
Three-point goals - HAV 1-10 (Weigel 1-5), BC 2-15 (McKeon 1-3, Pokorny 1-7). Rebounds - HAV 34 (Wirtzberger 5, Mariani 5, Barton 4), BC 25 (team 6, Murphy 5, Burns 4). Assists - HAV 10 (Mariani 3, Wirtzberger 2), BC 3 (Pokorny 2). Turnovers - HAV 20, BC 15. Total fouls - HAV 18, BC 25. Fouled out - McKeon. Technicals - (Pokorny).