By Tiffany L. Rehbein
The Havre Blue Ponies (2-1) withstood a late fourth quarter Chinook Sugarbeeter rally en route to a 53-47 non-conference win Thursday at Chinook.
Chinook's Troy Omsberg hit a 3-pointer -- the only 'Beeter trey of the game -- to narrow the Ponies' lead to 50-47 with 1:11 remaining in the game.
Chinook, who had fouls to give, gave up two fouls, sending Havre to the free throw line.
The Ponies sewed up the victory from the stripe, going 3-for-5 in the final :26 seconds.
"I thought that in the last minutes, we defended pretty well," head Havre High coach Dennis Murphy said. "Omsberg hits the big three on us, and we are smart enough to not foul, and we force them to shoot another perimeter shot."
Two 'Beeters attempted one 3-pointer apiece for naught, as the Ponies held on for the win.
"Havre posed good man-to-man pressure defense," said head Chinook Sugarbeeter coach Glenn Smith. "That was the difference in the game."
Chinook (0-1, 0-3) began the game on a 6-0 run, sparked by Kalled Jaha and Justin Friede.
Friede, who averaged 11 points last season, scored a team-high 15 points in the loss, while Jaha tallied nine points before fouling out with 2:03 remaining in the game.
Havre's Nate Baltrusch penetrated the key and dropped in a 10-footer to get the Ponies on the scoreboard with 5:50 remaining in the first quarter.
Baltrusch had seven steals, six assists, and six points in the win.
Chinook scored only two more times -- behind the forces of Mason Roseberry and Friede -- in the quarter, as Havre erupted for 12 points. The Ponies led 14-10 after one quarter.
"I thought that, defensively, we did a better job than we did a week ago against Dillon and Anaconda," Murphy said. The Blue Ponies held the Sugarbeeters to just eight offensive rebounds in the contest.
Balanced scoring throughout the second quarter left Havre up 29-22 at the half.
Havre senior Ricky Brown, who had 15 points at the half, opened the third quarter with a bucket. He finished with a game-high 21 points in the game, including shooting 7-for-15 from the field and 6-for-8 from the free throw line.
Chinook's Omsberg, who scored nine points in the game, connected on the first end of a free throw attempt to narrow the Ponies' lead to 31-23 with 7:11 remaining in the third quarter.
Chinook put together its best scoring effort of the game in the fourth quarter, when they tallied 15 points.
The 'Beeters held the Ponies scoreless for more than three minutes midway through the fourth quarter, as they slowly chewed up Havre's lead.
"They didn't quit," Smith said about his 'Beeters. "They had an opportunity there and that is good when the kids didn't give up."
Havre committed back-to-back turnovers -- both five-second violations -- during Chinook's fourth-quarter comeback.
"We had way too many unforced turnovers," Murphy said. The Ponies had 17 turnovers in the contest, 12 of which were committed by senior guards Brown and Baltrusch.
But it was free shots at the end that clinched the victory.
Havre went 12-for-19 from the stripe, while Chinook went 8-for-17 in the game. Omsberg, who went 0-for-8 from the stripe in the opening game of the season, went 4-for-4 against Havre to lead the 'Beeters.
Chinook, who opened the season with three-straight home games, has been defeated by top-notch Wolf Point, Cut Bank, and Havre.
"I am not unhappy at all," Smith said. "We have played some tough teams, and I've got 15 more games to get ready for the tournament."
Chinook plays at Simms Saturday.
Havre will host the District 1-B Fort Benton Longhorns Friday, and travel to District 2-B Glasgow on Saturday.