By Kim Staudinger
HARLEM Whoever said cats are cute and cuddly little animals should have warned the Havre Blue Ponies that Harlem's basketball team does everything but fit that description.
The Wildcats were certainly nice to the Ponies, as the final score of 73-39 Friday in favor of Harlem could have been a lot worse, but the game itself was nothing close to cute.
Chris Cole continued his dominance, drilling six of the team's 11 three-pointers, including two in the first quarter as Harlem built a 27-6 lead in the first eight minutes of play. Kevin Bigby got it all started for the Wildcats with a three-point basket, which was followed by a Colby Fetter lay-up, putting Harlem up 5-0. Bigby scored five more points in the quarter.
Cory Brothers and Doug Ireland accounted for all of Havre's scoring in the first quarter, Ireland getting the Ponies on the board with a lay-up at the 4:52 mark and Brothers hitting a three-pointer from the right side at the 1:14 mark. Brothers also made one of two free throws in the quarter for four points.
Turnovers spelled disaster for Havre throughout the game, but especially in the first quarter with six in the first five minutes of play. The Ponies had two more for a total of eight in the first quarter and had five in the second and eight in the third for a total of 21 on the game.
Havre's second quarter started out on a positive note, and Brothers and Mike Frey made back-to-back baskets, but Cole was too tough, answering with two baskets of his own in the quarter, giving the Wildcats a 36-14 lead at the half. While the second-quarter score was nearly even (9-8 in favor of Harlem) the strength of the Wildcats was too much for the Ponies.
Harlem outscored the Ponies 28-8 in the third quarter, led by three three-pointers by Cole, who had 14 points in the quarter, and four points each by Bigby and Hank Brockie.
Playing against Harlem's bench for nearly the whole fourth quarter, the Ponies scored 17 points in the final eight minues and held the Wildcats scoreless for more than four minutes, allowing only nine total points for the quarter.
Leading scorers for Havre were Dan Wirtzberger with 10, Brothers and Ireland both with eight, Mike Frey with six, Kevin Harada with three and Kyle Sheppard and Ryan Lusin each with two.
Harlem was led by Cole's 31 points, Kevin Bigby with 12, Fetter and Brockie each with six, Adam Bigby with five, Wes Main, Josh Hoops and Pete Stiffarm each with three, and Ben Carrywater and Jim Kennedy each with two.
Havre, knowing Glasgow had just narrowly lost to Harlem the weekend before, faced the relentless Scotties Saturday night, hoping for a change of luck.
Although the Ponies played the Scotties much closer than they had Harlem, the game still ended in a lopsided victory for Glasgow 77-48.
Havre's shooting hit a night of spurts, making the first basket of the night, but then not scoring again until only two minutes remained in the first quarter. Mike Frey drove the baseline for a lay-up to put Havre on the board first, but six turnovers and countless missed baskets later, the Ponies found themselves down 16-4 going into the second quarter of play.
Five Scotties scored in the first, led by Randy Southern's five points and Sam Breije's four.
Havre again started off the second quarter with two points; this time Kyle Sheppard hit a 12-foot jumper. But, the Ponies would not score for more than 2.5 minutes, falling behind 25-7. Kevin Harada ended the scoreless span with a lay-in to cut the score to 25-9. Harada missed two free throws 30 seconds later and Brothers was only able to make one of two free throws at the four-minute mark, keeping the Scottie lead at 17, 27-10.
The Ponies hit a run as Harada and Frey each had lay-ups and Ireland hit a three-pointer and added an assist to sneak back into the game at 30-17.
The last 1:38 of the half belonged to the Ponies as Ryan Lusin scored on an easy lay-up with the pass from Brothers, who followed the Lusin score with a three-pointer. Sheppard made it back-to-back three-pointers for the Ponies, swishing one from the left side with 42 seconds left in the half. Lusin topped off the Havre scoring with a putback as time expired to send the Scotties into the locker room with a 34-27 lead.
The Ponies kept it close, despite not scoring for the first 3.5 minutes of the third quarter. Glasgow outscored Havre 13-9 in the quarter.
The Scotties pulled away from the Ponies in the fourth quarter, outscoring Havre 30-12. Frey hit a three-pointer to end a drought by the Ponies and Brothers followed nearly a minute later with a three-pointer of his own. Brothers added an 8-foot jumper just under the four-minute mark to cut Glasgow's lead to 56-44, but that was as close as Havre got, going scoreless until the 1:36 point when Tyler Vincent hit two free throws. Lusin had another buzzer-beater with a putback to account for Havre's final score of the game.
"The kids did a great job getting caught up," Havre head coach Mark West said. "We just didn't make enough stops on defense to really shut them down. I was really surprised tonight and last night that we didn't handle the press better. We tried to force things to make it happen instead of taking our time.
"I would love to see us defend somebody and not have us give up those easy shots. I want our opponents to earn every shot they make."
Havre finished with 24 turnovers on the game.
The Scotties were led by Breije's 21 points and Southern's 20 points. Steve Falcon and Dustin Hackwith each added nine points and Shane Johnson seven, Charley Waters six and Randy Elletson five.
Brothers and Frey led the Ponies with 11 points each, followed by Harada and Lusin each with seven, Sheppard with five, Ireland with three, and Danny Wirtzberger and Vincent each with two.
Havre senior Titus Pedraza missed both games this weekend due to a two-game suspension.