Chris Peterson Havre Daily News firstname.lastname@example.org
Often times, mistakes are the difference in basketball games, and in it's home opener it was a mistake that caused the Havre High boys basketball team had to learn the hard way. Thanks in large part to 17 costly turnovers, Havre came up just short against Cut Bank, falling 54-48 on Thursday night at the HHS gymnasium. The victory was the Wolves' fifth straight over the Blue Ponies. The game appeared to be out of reach for Havre after Cut Bank took a 48-40 lead with just five minutes remaining. However, baskets by Michael Hickman and Kaden Keto trimmed the defi- cit to 49-44 with 1:56 left in the game. Then, following a defensive stop, the Ponies pulled within three points at 49-46 after a basket by Grayson Winsor. Winsor was fouled on the play, but failed to convert on the free throw, missing out on a 3-point play. On the ensuing Cut Bank possession, a Havre steal led to an easy basket for Tony Filler, pulling the Ponies within one at 49-48 with just 56 seconds to go in the game. After Jon Coryell of Cut Bank hit a pair of free throws with 24 seconds left, the score was 51-48. HHS had one final chance to tie the game, but a turnover by Filler ended any hopes of a comefrom- behind victory. “I think that all you can ask is that you put yourself in a position to win the game in the fourth quarter,” HHS head coach Andy Smith said. “The kids definitely played hard enough to win the game. We rebounded well enough to win the game, but we just had too many turnovers.” The win moves Cut Bank to 2-1 on the season, while the loss drops Havre’s record to 1-1. Senior forward Jeremy Whelchel led all scorers in the game with 18 points in the win for Cut Bank. Dylan Huschka also contributed with 14 points for the Wolves. Filler knocked down a pair of treys on his way to 12 points. Hickman also had 12 points in the defeat, to go along with 10 points from Winsor. “I thought Grayson did some good things out there,” Smith said. “He really hustles. He did a great job on the boards and he gives us a lot of energy.” Cut Bank led throughout the entire first quarter on its way to taking a 15-9 lead following the first stanza. The Wolves lead got as big as eight points early in the second quarter after two free throws by Whelchel. But HHS responded with an 11-2 run that was capped off on a lay up by Winsor, which gave the Ponies their first lead at 20- 19. Havre held a 23-22 lead with just seconds remaining in the first half when Josh Paulson buried a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give Cut Bank a 25-23 halftime edge. It appeared as though Cut Bank was going to break the game open in the third quarter when a basket by Whelchel made the score 40-30 in favor of the Wolves with 2:09 to go in the quarter. But Havre refused to go away, ripping of a 10-2 run that trimmed the lead to 42-40 with 5:06 left in the game. However, the Ponies never led in the second half and ultimately fell short by the score of 54-48. “I saw some good things out there,” Smith said. “The kids never gave up and they just continued to battle throughout the game. But we need to do a better job of taking care of the basketball and making sure that we make every possession count.” Havre High will be in action again tonight when the Ponies travel to Livingston, where they will take on the Rangers at 5 p.m. The Ponies will then square off against Belgrade at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday afternoon.