By Jess Green
In a dramatic girls homecoming basketball game, the Havre Blue Ponies pull out a 46-33 win over the Glasgow Scotties.
The Ponies lost the opening tip-off and soon after Alyssa Matter had to leave the game due to an injury. Matter would return, but the Scotties took advantage of her absence and took an 8-2 lead during the first five and a half minutes of the opening quarter.
The Blue Ponies turned it around and held the Scotties scoreless while Jayla McPherson and Alyssa Matter scored back to back field goals less than 15 seconds apart. The Ponies took a 9-8 first quarter lead after Jeri Matter added a free throw and Alyssa Matter hit field goal with one second left.
he second quarter opened with both Jayla McPherson and Nikki Baltrusch each scoring within the first minute. A freethrow and a field goal by the Scotties made the score 13-11 counting down to the five-minute mark.
A long three pointer by Nikki Baltrusch sparked good play on both sides of the ball as the Ponies put up nine unanswered points, extending their lead to 22-11 with 3:22 remaining. Scoring was limited to two free throws by Glasgow's Kodi Malnaa as both teams played strong defense up to the :40 mark. With 40 seconds left in the half, Havre's Breyon Briese and LaShae Michels each put up a field goal and gave Glasgow something to think about at the break.
Down 26-13 with fresh thoughts of the whipping handed to them in the second, the Scotties came out strong. Good defense, accurate free throws, and solid passing allowed the Scotties to tie the game at 30 with 1:43 left in the third.
"The defensive play of the Scotties kept us off balance," Coach Dennis Murphy said.
Needing another spark to get back in the game the Ponies scored another three pointer. Third quarter scoring ended when Jayla McPherson made the score 36-30 by sinking a field goal in spite of being fouled and then following it up by putting the free throw in as well.
The Ponies kept the momentum going through the fourth with outstanding defensive play and by holding the Scotties to just three points the entire quarter, all of which were made on free throw attempts.
Offensively, Alyssa and Jeri Matter each scored early fourth quarter field goal. The highlight of the fourth quarter was the presence of Alysia Kato who came off the bench and put up the Ponies the last six points of the game to secure the 46-33 victory.
For the second game in a row coach Murphy acknowledged that the floor play by Nikki Baltrusch was great.
Murphy added that the late play by his defense as a whole was important. In fact, the defense was so good that Glasgow only scored on free throws for last ten minutes of the game.
Another important factor was the solid rebounding by Nikki Baltrusch, who had seven rebounds, and Jayla McPherson, who had eight rebounds.
"Nikki is a great rebounder for her height," Murphy said.
At 5'3", the senior point guard has the teams highest vertical jump.
Murphy commented that the game was a good win, but they have two tough home games coming up against Fergus and Great Falls High and in order to compete with these teams, his Ponies would have to play at their best.