Chris Peterson Havre Daily News email@example.com
If effort alone was the deciding factor between winning and losing in athletics, then the Havre High boys basketball team might have walked away with a win against the Browning Indians. Unfortunately, the Ponies fell short despite a valiant effort Thursday night at the HHS gymnasium, losing to No. 3 Browning 59-54 despite a late fourth-quarter rally. However, the Ponies did walk away with a moral victory and the confidence that comes with the near upset of arguably the most talented team in the Central A Conference. “I think that at least we had some positive things go on out there tonight,” HHS head coach John Barnhorst said. “I feel much better about things than I have because I really thought that the kids played pretty hard and we had a chance to win there at the end.” Browning (9-0 overall, 4-0 conference) appeared to have complete control of the game midway through the fourth quarter when the Indians took their biggest lead of the night at 56-41 lead. But the Ponies refused to go down without a fight, finishing the game on a furious 13-3 run. The deficit proved to be too much to overcome and in the end Havre fell just short of a remarkable come-from-behind victory. “Even when we go down by double digits in the third and fourth quarter I still felt like we had a chance to win the game,” Barnhorst said. “The kids really competed hard all the way to the end and Browning made some mistakes that gave us an opportunity, but we just couldn’t score enough points in the end to win. “But we did a lot of the things that are necessary for our team to be successful down the road such as being patient on offense, defending well and rebounding the basketball,” he added. “So I think those are all positive things that we can take away from this game.” The Blue Ponies got a solid game from Chris Brandt who almost single handedly kept them alive in the fourth quarter after getting a number of acrobatic shots to go in the closing minutes. In all, Brandt notched a game-high 16 points in the loss with 11 of those points coming in fourth quarter. Senior Jeremiah Moog also had a good night for Havre with 14 points. The Ponies received good play out of their post players, as Mike Sharp reached double figures with 10 points and Andy Pester added nine points. “Jeremiah played pretty well tonight,” Barnhorst said. “I don’t really know if I ever remember him coming off the floor. He did a good job scoring, he played solid defense and he was aggressive on the boards. Chris did a really nice job of scoring there in the fourth quarter and Mike was solid inside for us.” Another positive for the Ponies was the fact that they were able to hold heralded DJ Fish of Browning to just four points on the night. Fish had been averaging over 16 points a game entering the contest and was second in the Central A in scoring coming in. Browning compensated for the lack of scoring from Fish with a balanced effort from the rest of the starting five and few key players coming off the bench. The Indians had 11 players that scored on the night, including just one that was able to get to double figures. Jarriel Blackman led the Indians in scoring with 10 points. Clayton Juneau added nine points in the win for the Indians and Andrew SpottedWolf also contributed with eight points. The loss dropped the Ponies to 2-6 overall and 1-4 in conference play. Next up for Havre is back-to-back nonconference games against challenging Class B opponents, beginning tonight with a road trip to Malta to take on the Mustangs. On Saturday Havre High will take on defending Class B state champion Cut Bank. Tonight’s game in Malta will kick off at 7 and Saturday’s game against the Wolves at the HHS gymnasium will tip off at 5 p.m.