At times, the Havre High boys basketball team shows signs of great basketball play. And one of those times was over the weekend against a top Class AA squad.
Saturday the Central A Blue Ponies hosted the CMR Rustlers. The Ponies played outstanding in the first half, but unfortunately the story line changed somewhat in the second half, as the Bison went on to come from behind and defeat the Ponies 57-38 at the Havre High gymnasium.
The first half of play was some of the best basketball the Ponies have turned in all season. It was very similar to how they played in a win over Malta, showing off their ability to chew huge chunks of time off the clock and find the open shot on offense, and showing off the ability to lock down an explosive offensive with a dialed in zone on defense.
Ryan Brandt got the Ponies off and running with a transition layup off a turnover and a made free throw in the opening seconds of the game. HHS went up 3-0 and only trailed once in the first frame, trailing 4-3. But once again Brandt got the Ponies on the right track with another two-point field goal, sparking the Ponies’ 10-2 run to close out the first eight minutes.
HHS led 13-6 after the first quarter and continued to play well through the second. The Ponies did allow 12 Rustler points in the second quarter, but they were forcing CMR to abandon their size and settle for outside shots. And on offense, the Ponies remained patient as they earned eight more points and the 21-18 halftime lead.
In the first half the Ponies held their own. They grabbed nine rebounds and gave up 16. But the Ponies gave up only seven offensive boards to CMR, taking away most of the Rustlers second chance opportunities. HHS also moved the ball well, grabbing seven assists. And on defense, the Ponies forced the Rustlers into poor shots, including 2-of-10 from behind the three-point arc.
Unfortunately, the Ponies couldn’t keep a cap on the Rustlers explosive offense all night. CMR came out in the second half and controlled the tempo and took advantage of their size in the paint. The Ponies were forced to play faster than what gave them success in the first half, and were outscored 19-6 in the third, and 20-11 in the fourth.
The 6-5 Russ Morin took advantage of his size, grabbing nine points in the third quarter and 15 overall. And Joey Marzion got over his poor shooting of 1-of-7 from behind the 3-point arc for 17 points. The Rustlers also wound up outrebounding the Ponies 33 to 14 and out shooting the Ponies from the field 49 percent to 41 percent.
But the Ponies did have a solid game before suffering the loss to the Class AA powerhouse. Brandon Smith led the Ponies with 13 points and Brandt finished with 12. Kade Rismon also stepped up against the CMR big men and finished the night with eight points of his own.
The Rustlers, who swept HHS this season, got a game-high 17 points by Joey Marzion.
It was a tough loss for the Ponies, especially after the great first half play. But the Ponies will look to get back on track this weekend with two more games. Friday the Ponies face Shelby on the road, and Saturday the Ponies host Conrad.
CMR 57, Havre High 38
C.M. Russell 6 12 19 20 — 57
Havre 13 8 6 11 — 38
C.M. Russell High — Joey Marzion 17, Josh Horner 9, Russ Morin 15, ColtonCarter 3, Tanner Olsen 2, Luke Stenzel 2, Anthony Bonilla 3, Eric Dawson 4, Austin Kinaman 2. Totals: 24 6-10 57.
Havre High — Ryan Brandt 5, Ryden Ruff 2, Justin Jensen 5, Brandon Smith 13, Ramsey Drew 2, Thurman Holdsclaw 3, Kade Rismon 8. Totals: 13 9-12 38.
3-point goals: CMR 3 (Marzion, Carter, Bonilla), Havre 3 (Brandt, Smith 2). Total fouls: CMR 15, Havre 10. Fouled out: none.