By Jess Green
The girl's Blue Pony basketball team took it to the Browning Lady Indians in a 49-29 Tuesday night victory. This important victory over a Browning team that ranked above the Ponies comes after two disappointing losses last week.
"It was a pretty big game," Blue Pony Alyssa Matter said, "since they were ranked above us."
In spite of losing the opening tip, The Ponies played aggressive defense while scoring their way to a commanding 10-0 lead with 4:48 left in the first. Jayla Mcpherson struck first at 6:35 with a long two point shot from the top of the key. Just seconds later, Alyssa Matter stole the ball, but was fouled as she went for the shot. Alyssa went to the line and put away both free throws sending the Ponies up by four.
Nikki Baltrusch added a field goal at 5:46 before Alyssa Matter went to the line at 5:12 and sank two more. LaShae Michels got in on the action when she was fouled at 4:48. Michels put both of her free throw attempts in to give them the 10-0 lead.
Browning wasn't ready to just roll over, though. Sienna Schildt, K.C. Everybodytalksabout, and Dani Augare would each sink a field goal before the first period buzzer bringing the Indians within four after the first.
Defense was the theme of the first minute of the second quarter until Amy Ranes put one in at 6:56. Ranes would follow her field goal with an immediate steal and quick score to put the Ponies ahead 14-6 at 6:43.
Feeling the pressure from the Ponies, the Browning coach called a time out at 5:46 to regroup his team.
After the break in the action, Ranes continued her aggressive play. However, she was called for a foul that resulted in a free throw by Jessica Edwards to make it 14-7 with 5:05 left in the half. Alysia Kato added two to the Pony lead at 4:20.
With 4:08 left in on the clock, Sierra Schildt went to the line for the Indians and put in one free throw. Laura Jo Kipp retrieved the rebound for the Indians and added two.
The Ponies responded quickly when Jeri Matter scored just 20 seconds later. Laura Jo Kipp scored another free throw point for the Indians before seeing Blue Pony LaShae Michels go on a two minute scoring frenzy. Michels put in three shots for seven points starting with one at 3:12 and finishing with a long three pointer at 1:55.
K.C. Everybodytalksabout ended the streak with a field goal for the Indians with 1:34 left.
The Ponies brought the score to 28-13 by adding three points on a Jeri Matter field goal and a LaShae Michels free throw.
Mandy Burns would try to ignite her Indians teammates with an early score in the third, but LaShae Michels continued her solid play and answered with two points of her own. Nikki Baltrusch was able to steal the ball as the Indians began to move it out of their end. Baltrusch scored quickly after the steal to make it 33-15 with 5:46 left in the third.
The Ponies struggled for the next three and a half minutes and the Indians were able to add four points to their score. The Ponies finally got it going again when Nikki Baltrusch ignited the crowd on a three point shot, then proceeded to score off of another steal. Browning's Sienna Schildt made it 38-21 and the third quarter ended without a single foul being committed by either team.
After a third quarter with no fouls, the fourth quarter saw both teams tire and commit several. The fouls were created by the fact that Browning stepped up their pressure in an effort to get turnovers. Havre would end the game with five second half team fouls while Browning amounted 12 before the game's end.
The Indian's pressure created some problems for the Ponies with moving the ball, but they would get their opportunities at the free throw line. Havre scored 11 points in the fourth with nine of those points coming off of free throws.
At times the late pressure was so great that Blue Pony Coach Dennis Murphy called time outs so his Pony team would retain possession of the ball.
Murphy commented on the good ball movement that the Ponies had early in the game.
"Every player came in and played well," Murphy said, "it was a good team effort."
aShae Michels lead the Ponies in scoring with 13 points. Nikki Baltrusch was also very productive offensively. She scored 11 Blue Pony points.
More noticeable was the great defensive play of the Ponies as a team. While Nikki was able to put good pressure on the Indians, her teammates took away a lot of their passing options by occupying the lanes.
"They're a good team," coach Murphy said of the Indians.
Murphy admitted that they were a little embarrassed tonight and that they will be tougher next week when the Ponies have to travel to Browning. The Ponies next game will be Friday, Oct. 27 at 7:30 versus the Indians in Browning. Blue Pony Alyssa Matter thinks that not only will the Indians be better, but the Blue Ponies will be better as well.
We only had a day to prepare for this one," Alyssa Matter said, "now that we have a week to prepare we'll be better."