By Tiffany L. Rehbein
Its a lot easier to make a shot with no one guarding you.
To prove that fact, the Havre Blue Ponies went 21-of-26, shooting 81 percent, from the foul line en route to a 55-48 victory over the Great Falls High Bison at the Bison Fieldhouse Tuesday.
Two things were key, head coach Dennis Murphy said. One is that our press took them out of their offensive set so they werent able to run up and down the floor. Two is that we got to the foul line. In the loss to Lewistown, we werent able to do that, last night we were.
Coming off a 49-41 loss to Lewistown Saturday, sophomore Jeri Matter led the Blue Pony attack against the Bison with a team-high 13 points. She went 6-for-8 from the foul line.
Junior Nikki Baltrusch played strong and quick in the full-court press and joined Matter in double figures with 11, going 6-for-8 from the line.
Nikki had a great floor game for us, Murphy said.
Five-foot-2 Baltrusch had seven rebounds and nine assists in the victory. Baltrusch leads the Central A in assists, averaging 7.2 per game.
Junior Alyssa Matter also notched 11 points for the Ponies, and hit 2-of-3 from the charity stripe. Matter ripped down seven boards and snatched four steals in the effort.
Senior Tiffany Shrauger was hot from the stripe, nailing 5-of-6. Shrauger had seven points.
Sophomore Jayla McPherson came off the bench to hit 2-of-2 free shots and tallied four points in the contest.
Havre opened with a 14-9 lead after one quarter, but the Bison outscored the Blue Ponies 20-10 in the second quarter, and went into the locker room with a 29-24 lead.
However, the Pony press and half-court defense held the Bison to just four third-quarter points, while Havre exploded for 19 points.
I told them to come out and give it an honest effort, Murphy said about his halftime talk in the locker room. They had to make the decision to play hard and it had to be an honest effort.
The Blue Ponies notched 12 fourth-quarter points, all of which came from the foul line.
Megan Schmitz had a game-high 15 points to lead the Bison.
I think we played really well as a team last night, Murphy said.
Third-ranked Havre, 11-3 overall, has the weekend off and travels to Chinook Tuesday to square off against the Sugarbeeters.
Chinook ousted Cut Bank 66-41 last night in District 2-B action.
When Havre met Chinook on Oct. 5, Havre came out on top, 49-40.