HHS girls close out 2006 with magnificent sweep of Class AA rivals CMR and GFH
Chris Peterson Havre Daily News email@example.com
Christmas came early for the Havre High girls basketball team this year, as the Ponies earned themselves an early present with an upset win over class AA rival Great Falls High. Just one night removed from their surprise road win over the CMR Rustlers, the Ponies proved the win was no fluke, as they knocked off the Bison in a 46-44 overtime thriller Friday night at the Havre High gymnasium.. “I think that beating both CMR and Great Falls High on back-to-back nights is a great achievement for our team,” HHS head coach Dustin Kraske said. “I think that our kids are playing as hard as they possibly can and I think this is a nice accomplishment for them.” Havre fell behind early on, trailing GFH by as many as 10 points in the second quarter. But the Ponies railed to tie the score at the end of the third quarter. Early in the fourth quarter, with the Bison ahead 34-33, Hope Hedges drilled a 3- pointer to give the Ponies a 36-34 lead, their first since going up 3-2 in the first quarter. Havre clung to a 40-39 lead with less than two minutes to go in regulation, but the Bison regained the lead on a basket by Megan Stubbs to go ahead 41-40. However, the Ponies answered in dramatic fashion as Tricia Samson nailed a clutch three to give Havre a 43-41 lead with 52 seconds remaining. Then on the ensuing Bison possession, Kezia Ford scored to tie the game. Havre had one last shot to win the game in regulation, but Steph Stremcha’s jump shot rimmed out sending the game to an extra frame. In overtime, neither team made a basket from the field. The game turned into a free-throw shooting contest which Havre won as Katie Mariani hit two key free throws to put Havre up 45-43. The Bison had a chance to tie the game, but Hedges intercepted a pass to Ford and Mariani sealed the win with another free throw, making the final score 46-43. “I thought our defense on that final possession was outstanding,” Kraske said. “We got through the screens, communicated and ended up with the loose ball. That is something that is becoming a habit for this team.” Mariani had 14 points in the game to lead the Ponies after going 8-of-10 from the charity stripe. “It feels pretty good to come out and get this win, especially after beating CMR last night,” Mariani said. “I mean, it’s not a conference win or anything like that, but I think a lot of people have overlooked us and I think tonight we showed that we are a good team.” Lena Suek also pitched in with nine points and seven rebounds in the victory and Hedges contributed with eight points and several critical steals. Samson added seven points for the Ponies. “Lena had another good game for us tonight,” Kraske said. “She got some key baskets and she also did a great job rebounding the ball and playing defense. Tricia also had a really nice game. Her contributions don’t always show up in the box score, but she is a fundamentally sound player and she is a big part of our team.” Ford poured in a game-high 22 points to go along with an amazing 17 rebounds for the Bison. Ford scored 17 of her 22 points after halftime. “We just didn’t have an answer for the Ford girl,” Kraske said. “It wasn’t just the fault of anyone person, but it was the fault of the entire team. We just couldn’t guard her.” Gina Schermele added nine points and Brittany Kumm also had seven points in the loss for the Bison. “This was a tough game,” Kraske said. “Great Falls High did a great job of slowing down the pace and taking some of our emotion and energy away from us early on. But we played hard right down to the end and we did what we had to do.” The Ponies will be off during the Holiday break. They will be back in action on Jan. 5 when they travel to conference rival Lewistown.