McPherson leads all scorers with 16; Whitney, Crampton score in double figures for the Beeters
By Kim Staudinger
The Havre High Blue Ponies jumped out to an early 14-point lead, en route to a 63-42 victory over Chinook Thursday night in Havre, disappointing a boisterous Beeter crowd that traveled the 20 miles from Chinook.
With the win, Havre improved to 6-4 overall, while Chinook fell to 6-4.
The Blue Ponies netted the first 14 points of the contest, led by senior center Jayla McPherson, who had eight points and a blocked shot in the critical run before the Beeters could break the silence. Kelsie Whitney buried a three-pointer from the left corner with 2:21 left in the first to finally put Chinook on the scoreboard.
Katie Malsam nearly answered Whitney's three with a three of her own, but it rattled out. McPherson, who lead all scorers with 16 points, got the rebound and the putback, taking the Havre lead back to 13.
"We spotted them 12 points," Chinook coach Bill Keller said. "Havre's a great basketball team and you can't give that to them on their home floor."
Chinook sophomore Kelsey Crampton and senior guard Whitney tried to rally the Beeters, hitting two straight shots, mounting a 5-0 run to cut the Pony lead to eight with two minutes remaining in the first. But Malsam, who transfered from Chinook last year, responded to the Whitney three-pointer with another three-pointer of her own, ending the Chinook rally. Malsam finished the game with eight points.
"Katie usually plays really well and really hard against Chinook," Havre coach Dennis Murphy said. "She kept the ball alive and had a couple of key steals for us."
Carrie Flatau made one of two free throws to end the first quarter, giving Havre a 12-point lead.
"They came out and (played man-to-man defense) right away," Murphy said of the first quarter defense. "We got some easy baskets and were able to run some set plays and made some good things happen."
Chinook was able to cut the Havre lead to seven in the second quarter, but were unable to come any closer as the Ponies responded to any rally the Beeters could muster.
"I am proud of the ability for them to come back," Keller said. "But every time we made a run, they had an answer."
"Every time they started to make a run, we were able to come back with a different rotation to get those runs stopped for us," Murphy said of his bench.
Murphy called a timeout with five seconds remaining in the half, strategically setting up a last-second shot play designed for Malsam. Malsam missed the open three-point shot at the top of the key, failing to increase Havre's 10-point lead going into the break.
Havre had its chances to run away with the game in the fourth, but shot a dismal 30 percent (6-for-20) at the free-throw line, allowing the Beeters to stay in the game.
"We gave them a glimmer of hope," Murphy said. "We blew some lay-ups and missed free throws down the stretch. If we make those, we win going away. We didn't win going away."
"Havre played a great game throughout," Keller said. "They pounded us on the boards and were constantly on us. They out-rebounded us every time down the floor."
McPherson led the team in rebounds and, according to Murphy, probably had a double-double in point and rebounds for the third consecutive game.
"Jayla's playing great basketball right now," Keller said. "She's a great post who knows her position well and demands the ball. She's tough to defend with an attitude like that. She's doing it all for them right now."
Chinook Kelsey Whitney 14, Jen Baird 9, Kelly Acra 4, Cecilia Moody 3, Brittany Buhmann 2, Kelsey Crampton 10.
Havre Katie Miller 1, Julie Wagner 6, Katie Malsam 8, Carrie Flatau 3, Sara Suek 8, Alysia Kato 7, Jeri Matter 7, Amy Ranes 7, Jayla McPherson 16.