Chris Peterson Havre Daily News firstname.lastname@example.org
Nothing came easy this weekend for the Havre High girls basketball team. But after a poor performance in a 45- 35 loss to CMR Friday night in Havre, the Ponies responded like a champion does with a 58-47 double-overtime victory over Great Falls High at Swarthout Fieldhouse on Saturday afternoon. The Ponies were out for a sweep of CMR on Friday night, but the Rustlers had other ideas in mind. With CMR holding a slim 19-18 halftime lead, the Rustlers defense turned up the heat on a withering Pony offense. CMR outscored Havre 10-4 in the third quarter and held the Ponies without a field goal for the first 10:06 of the second half until Katie Mariani finally broke the drought with a basket to cut the CMR lead to 31-24 with 5:54 remaining in the game. But the Rustlers went on a 9-3 run and got crucial baskets from Kelsey Hopkins and Mary Anderson, as well as a clutch 3-pointer from Meghan Yurek to push the lead to 40-27. Havre tried to rally, but just couldn’t put together any substantial runs, scoring just 17 second-half points in the 10- point loss. “We played a lot better in the second half,” CMR head coach Chad Olsen said. “We turned the ball over way too much in the first half and we executed much better on offense in the second half. Our kids also played very well defensively and that was a big key for us.” Hopkins had 11 points in the win for the Rustlers. Yurek added eight points for CMR. Mariani and Tricia Samson each scored 11 points in the loss for the Ponies. “CMR just outplayed us. They played very well and they deserved to win,” HHS head coach Dustin Kraske said. “We did not play well together at all on offense. But it was nice to play against another good team.” After a tough loss, the Ponies were determined to rebound against GFH Saturday at Swarthout Fieldhouse in Great Falls. Havre got off to a strong start, taking a 12-8 lead after the first quarter and parlaying that into a 31-24 advantage going into halftime. But like the night before against CMR, the Ponies struggled to score in the third quarter. Havre was just 1-of-11 from the field, with its only points coming on a 3-pointer by Mariani. Due to the offensive drought, the Ponies’ lead disappeared, and by the end of the third period, the Bison were on top 36-34. However, unlike the CMR game, the Ponies rallied, outscoring the Bison 8-6 in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 42-42, sending it into overtime. With 12 seconds remaining in overtime, the score was tied at 44-44 when HHS sophomore Hope Hedges drilled two free throws to give the Ponies a 46- 44 lead. Needing a basket to tie the game, the Bison turned to junior forward Kezia Ford. But Ford could not come through, missing a game-tying layup. Fortunately for the Bison, Molly Quinn was there to rebound the ball and put it in at the buzzer to send the game into double overtime at 46-46. In the second overtime, the Bison appeared to finally run out of gas, and the Ponies buried them with a 12-0 run to give them the 58-47 win. “I thought the kids did a great job of coming back and responding the way they did after how we played Friday night,” Kraske said. “I liked how we were put in a situation where we had to do certain things to win and we were able to do them.” Mariani finished the game with 18 points, seven of them coming in the two overtimes. Sarah Blessum added 13 points in the win and Hedges pitched in with nine points. “I thought that Katie played really well,” Kraske said. “She made some big plays and I was really happy with her defense. Hope also had a really good game. She hit some big free throws at the end and she played a great game defensively.” Ford gave the Ponies plenty of headaches throughout the game, scoring 20 points in a losing effort for the Bison. Erika Jenkins also had a solid game for the Bison with 12 points in the loss. The win gives the Ponies a seasonsweep of their Class AA rivals from Great Falls. HHS beat GFH in overtime in Havre back in December. Havre (10-4 overall, 6-1 conference) will take the floor Friday at the HHS gymnasium against Lewistown, followed by a road game on Saturday at Butte Central.