By Tiffany L. Rehbein
A come-from-behind fourth-quarter surge, 17 lead changes and a winner not decided until the final four seconds of play.
It's a recipe for a great game.
However, Havre (3-3) fell to the Fergus County Golden Eagles 73-71 in Central A action at Lewistown Tuesday night.
"I thought we played OK last night," head coach Dennis Murphy said. "We were pretty solid offensively."
Down by 13 points at one point in the second half, the Ponies exploded for 27 points in the fourth quarter. Havre tied the game with little more than three minutes to play in the game.
"In the last 3:20, we were able to get ahead a number of times, however, we were never able to get a big defensive stop," Murphy said.
Three-pointers by seniors Ricky Brown and Nate Baltrusch rallied the Ponies late in the game.
Brown scored a team-high 22 points and popped four 3-pointers in the game.
Baltrusch tallied 16 points in the contest. He also had a game-high 10 assists.
Senior Landen Grant, at 6-foot-4, notched 17 points for Havre. He also grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds in the matchup.
"He probably had the best game of his varsity career last night," Murphy said. "I was really pleased with his output."
Lewistown shot an amazing 21-for-36, or 58 percent, from the field en route to the win. The win lifted the Eagles to 4-2 on the season.
The Eagles also went 25-for-34 from the free throw line. Newell Roche went 9-for-14 from the stripe, and led the Eagles with a game-high 28 points.
"They shot the ball extremely well," Murphy said. "Fergus traditionally shoots the ball extremely well at their gym. So, we have to do a little better job defensively to stop them."
The Ponies shot 44 percent from the field and 85 percent from the foul line.
Baltrusch went 4-for-5, Brown shot 4-for-4, and Grant went 3-for-4 from the stripe for the Ponies.
"The thing that I wanted us to do was to defend and force them to shoot a shot," Murphy said. "Unfortunately, we were a little over-aggressive and they went to the foul line and shot free throws."
Havre, using its renowned full-court pressure, caused 20 Eagle turnovers. The Ponies committed just eight in the contest.
"We took care of the basketball," Murphy said. "We did enough things right to win the game. Unfortunately, they shot the ball so well, and we weren't able to get a stop."
The game sewed up the December schedule for Havre, who will play again on Jan. 4 when it hosts Great Falls High.
"You have to get better," Murphy said. "I thought we did that. We played well, for the most part, against Lewistown. I don't like the results, but the step in the long journey is a good step, yet, it's not the results that we want. I don't want to be just happy to play good teams close. I want to beat good teams, and I think the kids want to beat good teams."