By Tiffany L. Rehbein
After 16 practices, the Havre Blue Pony girls basketball squad had its first chance to play in a live-game situation Thursday.
And the team played.
Constant substitutions by head coach Dennis Murphy kept all 17 players both junior varsity and varsity on the floor during the 32 minutes of blue and white scrimmage play.
Overall the girls gave a good effort, Murphy said. The Blue team barely scraped past the White, 36-35 in the end.
During the first half of play, the Blue Ponies were divided fairly evenly, Murphy said. The Blue team led 30-25 at halftime.
The White overcame the deficit during the second half when the teams were divided more along the lines of varsity against junior varsity.
The good thing about that, Murphy said, is that the starting positions are so wide open. Players will be fighting about who even gets to travel to Lewistown next weekend.
The Blue Ponies, who finished 16-1 in the Central A last year, are led this year by seniors Tiffany Shrauger and Erin Patera. Shrauger scored a game-high 10 points while Patera scored six on the night.
The scrimmage opened with 40 minutes of drill demonstrations to show the parents that their kids arent simply drinking pop and watching TV, Murphy said, while the folks think theyre at basketball practice.
The first half proved to be an up-tempo contest with both sides enforcing a full-court press. The Blue team led after one quarter, 14-8, behind the shooting of sophomore Amy Ranes who tallied eight points.
The White team was nearly silent in the second quarter scoring only four points. The Blue team continued to pour in the buckets this time behind junior Alyssa Matter who led with six points.
I think she [Matter] did a nice job, Murphy said. She was much more aggressive offensively.
In the third quarter, with the teams stacked varsity against junior varsity, the Whites worked to dig themselves out of the gutter. They outscored the Blue 13-4 led by Shrauger, who didnt start the second half, with six points .
In the fourth quarter, one shot each from Shrauger and Patera lifted the White team to its first lead of the entire game with 2:04 left on the clock, but it proved to be too much time. Two missed fast break layups cost the White team a runaway. Although they outscored the Blue team 10-6 in the fourth, they finished one point shy of the win.
The best thing I saw was we played really good position defense, Murphy said. We didnt get beat so much in the half court set-up. However, what we wanted, what we needed, was to be more reckless. We need to gamble more, not be so conservative.
The Blue Ponies travel to Lewistown Friday, Sept. 3, to meet Dillon at 8 p.m. in the Central A tip-off tournament. Saturday Havre meets Anaconda at 2 p.m.