By Tiffany L. Rehbein
Great Falls Bison senior Bo Scott scored a game-high 18 points en route to the Bison's 58-52 win at the Blue Pony Corral Tuesday.
Behind the forces of an icy first-quarter start, Blue Pony seniors Landen Grant and Nate Baltrusch scored back-to-back buckets more than two minutes into the quarter to open the scoring.
Baltrusch finished with a team-high 12 points and seven rebounds in the contest. Grant finished with eight points and four rebounds.
"I thought in the first half they did a pretty good job of what we wanted done," head coach Dennis Murphy said.
The Bison (2-2 overall) held a slim 25-21 lead at halftime.
However, Great Falls exploded for as much as an 18-point lead midway through the third quarter. But the Ponies answered with a 14-0 run of their own in the second half.
Senior Ricky Brown and junior Ryan Fink lit up 3-point land. Fink finished with nine points in the game, while Brown, the Ponies' leading scorer this season, tallied 11 points, including three 3-pointers.
"One thing that concerns me is that we are coming out at halftime and coming out as flat as we've done," Murphy said. "This is about the third or fourth time we've done this. Why we are coming out flat, I don't know, but this is a concern of mine."
A succession of scoring on both ends defined the fourth quarter.
Bison junior Justin Prinzing notched two 3-pointers at the midpoint of the quarter. Each was answered by Brown, Fink, and senior Cliff Cooper on the Blue Pony end.
Cooper finished with six points, and five rebounds in the game. He also fouled out of the contest.
Prinzing of Great Falls finished with nine points, while Tagan LaFountain tallied 11 in the game. Neither LaFountain nor Prinzing were starters for the Bison.
"I was really pleased with the defense overall," Murphy said. "They have four key players who we controlled nicely."
Van Redpath, Noah Thatcher, and Elias Stump can be hot for Great Falls. They were held to just two, seven, and two points, respectively.
"Three of their four players we were able to shut down," Murphy said.
The Bison bench scored 25 points in the game, while the Ponies scored 17.
"Their bench was a big boost for them," Murphy said.
In the fourth quarter alone, the Ponies, within six points of the Bison, missed the front end of a bonus freethrow situation two times.
"If we make those shots, we are right back in the game," Murphy said. "There were a couple of times we faced that situation."
The Ponies slipped to 3-4 on the season with the loss. They will face Class A rival Browning on the road Friday, and return home to play the District 2B Malta Mustangs Saturday.
Great Falls -- Bo Scott 8 0-1 18; Tagan LaFountain 4 0-0 11; Dustin Prinzing 3 1-2 9; Van Redpath 1 0-0 2; Noah Thatcher 2 3-4 7; Jerry McNamee 1 3-4 5; Andrew Campbell 1 2-4 4; Elias Stump 1 0-2 2. Totals: 19 9-7.
Havre -- Nate Baltrusch 3 6-7 12; Ryan Fink 4 0-0 9; Ricky Brown 4 0-1 11; Landon Grant 4 0-0 8; Nick Crawford 3 0-1 6; Cliff Cooper 3 0-0 6. Totals: 21 6-9.
Total fouls: Great Falls 14, Havre 16. Fouled out: Cooper.
Three-pointers: Scott 2, LaFountain 3, Prinzing 2, Brown 3, Fink 1.
Rebounds: Great Falls 34 (Stump 8, Campbell 7), Havre 32 (Baltrusch 7).