By Tiffany L. Rehbein
Ricky Brown popped three 3-pointers and the Havre Blue Ponies went on a 15-0 run with 3:40 remaining in the first quarter en route to a 16-point lead and a 66-45 win over the District 2B Chinook Sugarbeeters in non-conference action Thursday at Havre.
"I think that we had a very good start," Blue Pony head coach Dennis Murphy said. "I think tonight might be our best position defense we have played this season."
To cap off the fiery first quarter, Brown snatched a steal in the front court and, through stifling defense on the ensuing lay-up, connected with teammate Nate Baltrusch on a behind the back pass for the assist on the score.
Brown went on to score a game-high 20 points, and Baltrusch finished with six points and a game-high seven assists.
The Ponies shot 61 percent from the field in the first half en route to the win.
"When we shoot that well, that has got to be a bonus," Murphy said.
Chinook put together its best offensive quarter in the second, when they outscored the Ponies 15-14. Adam Gibson and Troy Omsberg scored five points apiece in the quarter to lead the 'Beeters.
Gibson finished with a team-high 12 points, and Omsberg added 11 for Chinook in the game.
The Blue Pony defense remained intense in the third quarter, holding Chinook scoreless for more than three minutes twice in the quarter.
Sugarbeeters' Justin Friede, Kalled Jaha, and Scott Fritz tallied the 10 Chinook points in the quarter. Jaha, who leads the team in rebounding, sat most of the game in foul trouble, collecting his fourth midway through the second quarter.
The Ponies, who switched their starting lineup to include a more athletic and slightly taller crew, saw good play from their bench.
The Blue Ponies' bench scored 20 points in a balanced attack. Chris Young and Ryan Fink tallied five points apiece off the bench, Dan Wirtzberger and Cliff Cooper notched four apiece and Nick Crawford chipped in two points.
"It was really nice when the bench came in and, instead of dropping off, we got a lift," Murphy said.
All 10 Ponies scored, with Scott Rice and Jesse Suek adding four points each.
Landen Grant hit a double-double with 12 points and a game-high 13 rebounds for Havre.
"I think that Landen Grant did a nice job on the boards for us," Murphy said.
The Ponies sewed up the victory from the foul line in the fourth quarter, going 8-for-12 in the quarter. Wirtzberger went 4-for-4 to lead the effort.
Gibson and Omsberg each nailed a 3-pointer during the final eight minutes and Mason Roseberry went 5-for-6 from the free throw line.
Both teams will rest Friday, and the Ponies will host Glasgow in non-conference action Saturday, while the Sugarbeeters will host Simms in non-conference Saturday.
Chinook Adam Gibson 5 0-0 12; Troy Omsberg 4 2-5 11; Justin Friede 3 0-0 7; Mason Roseberry 1 5-6 7; Kalled Jaha 2 2-2 6; Scott Fritz 1 0-0 2. Totals: 16 9-13.
Havre Dan Wirtzberger 0 4-4 4; Rick Brown 6 0-0 20; Landen Grant 5 2-3 12; Nate Baltrusch 2 2-3 6; Ryan Fink 1 2-4 5; Scott Rice 1 2-4 4; Nick Crawford 1 0-0 2; Jesse Suek 2 0-0 4; Cliff Cooper 1 2-2 4. Totals: 23 15-22.
Total fouls: Chinook 19, Havre 16. Fouled out: none. Three-pointers: Gibson 2, Omsberg, Friede, Brown 4, Fink.