By Tiffany L. Rehbein
The Havre Blue Pony boys' basketball team (3-2) split wins with Class B opponents during the weekend.
The Ponies defeated the District 1-B Fort Benton Longhorns 62-55 in their first home game of the season Friday.
Havre opened the first quarter with a 15-6 lead behind the balanced scoring of junior Ryan Fink, senior Landen Grant, and senior Ricky Brown.
Brown, the Ponies' leading scorer this season, scored a game-high 21 points in the contest. Grant had 13 points, and Fink chipped in eight in the effort.
"I think the game was extremely physical," head coach Dennis Murphy said. "They came in and battled against us. I don't think either team was able to get into a flow of what they wanted to do."
The Longhorns committed 28 fouls in the game. Havre shot 37 free throws, connecting on 23 of them. Fort Benton went 5-for-10 from the line in the contest. Havre committed 16 fouls in the game.
The Longhorns whittled away a seven-point Blue Pony halftime lead and entered the fourth quarter with the game knotted up at 40-40.
"Down the stretch, we did a really nice job," Murphy said.
With 3:59 remaining in the third quarter, the Longhorns exploded for 12 unanswered points -- combining penetrating drives and perimeter shooting -- to even the game.
Havre senior Jesse Suek opened the fourth quarter, hitting the first end of a free throw situation to lift the Ponies to a 41-40 lead.
Senior Nate Baltrusch followed suit and cashed in on an offensive drive, lifting the Ponies to a 43-40 lead less than one minute into the quarter. Baltrusch scored the easy way -- with nobody guarding him -- going 13-of-17 from the free throw line and scored 15 points in the effort. At 5-foot-9, he also had a team-high eight rebounds in the contest.
The Ponies connected on 7-of-8 free shots to sew up the victory in the final minute of play.
The Ponies lost to the District 2-B Glasgow Scotties 64-52 on the road Saturday.
"I think that we were extremely flat," Murphy said. "I don't know why our mental approach to the game was so bad."
Havre shot just 27 percent from the field, while Glasgow managed 54 percent. From the free throw line, Havre went 13-of-31 in the contest.
"You are not going to win a lot of games when we are shooting that caliber and they are shooting that caliber," Murphy said.
Grant led the Ponies' offensive effort with 13 points. Brown, who has tallied double figures in every game so far this season, faced a tough Glasgow defense and managed just seven points.
Senior Chris Young chipped in 10 points in the loss.
"We had the opportunity to score, unfortunately, we just did not make the shots we needed to make," Murphy said.
Havre will face Central A foe Lewistown on the road Tuesday to sew up the December schedule.