By Kim Staudinger
Led by three scorers in double figures, the Havre Blue Ponies thrashed Harlem 79-29 Friday night at Harlem.
Senior Alysia Kato came off the bench for the Ponies and scored 15 points and grabbed six rebounds. Junior Renessa Briere, who usually plays full time on the junior varsity team, also came off the bench and earned a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Julie Wagner earned her starting spot back this weekend and added 10 points, including two three-pointers, in the Havre win.
The win for the Ponies marked the second 50-point victory of the season, both coming against Harlem.
Harlem started strong, taking an early three-point lead with just under seven minutes to play in the first quarter. But Havre came back and took the lead as Wagner got a steal and an easy lay-up, starting a 19-9 rally to end the first.
"Nona is one of our go-to girls," Harlem coach Jack Plumage said. "She got two fouls right away and when she takes herself out of the game like that, it hurts us."
The Ponies held the Wildcats at seven points for a stretch of nearly three minutes in the first-quarter rally, while the Ponies scored 14 to take the lead, which stood for the remainder of the game.
"They out-hustled us definitely in the first quarter," Havre coach Dennis Murphy said. "Even though the score didn't show it."
Neither team scored for the first two minutes and 37 seconds of the second quarter until Harlem's Nona Main made one of two free throws, taking the score to 23-13.
"I thought we came out and weren't very intense," Murphy said. "I was impressed with how tough they played us in the first half. They weren't intimidated."
The Wildcats would once again hit a scoring drought, failing to score again until the 2:17 mark when Carly Haluszka made one of two free throws on a technical foul shot. Leslie Horn was fouled two seconds later and made both free throws. Harlem would score one more free throw with 1:15 left in the half, making the only Wildcat points scored in the second quarter on free throws.
Havre took advantage of the lack of scoring by Harlem and turned a nine-point lead after the first quarter to a 26-point lead at the half. Carrie Flatau (10 rebounds) and Jayla McPherson (eight rebounds) each scored five points in the quarter, followed by four by Briere.
"Right at the half we had a great run," Murphy said. "We went from being up 15 to up 20 something. Our subs did a great job to come in there and expand the lead."
Harlem's second quarter problems stemmed mainly from the Ponies' tough defensive pressure, forcing numerous turnovers and allowing wide-open lay-ups for Havre.
"The press shouldn't have bothered (Holly Main), but it did tonight," Plumage said. "Other nights it doesn't. She is one of the ones I look to be a leader out there, but tonight she wasn't."
Havre would score the first nine points of the third quarter, mounting a 52-17 lead with four minutes remaining. Olivia Main (team leading 13 points) stopped the Havre scoring parade with consecutive three-point baskets, forcing Havre to take a timeout.
Main would hit another shot with 1:16 left in the third, making all eight of Harlem's third-quarter points hers.
Kato scored seven points in the quarter for Havre.
The Havre dominance continued in the fourth as the Wildcats scored only four points, two on free throws.
All 12 Havre players scored in the game, including each of the three junior varsity girls. Jeanna McPherson scored five, Kacie Kitchens scored four and Briere added 11.
Katie Miller had six steals, eight rebounds and five assists for Havre. Katie Malsam also added four assists.
Havre Katie Miller 4, Julie Wagner 10, Katie Malsam 5, Carrie Flatau 9, Jeanna McPherson 5, Sara Suek 4, Alysia Kato 15, Jeri Matter 3, Amy Ranes 2, Kacie Kitchens 4, Jayla McPherson 7, Renessa Briere 11.
Harlem Megan Walls 4, Olivia Main 13, Carly Haluszka 1, Carmen Morales 3, Nona Main 3, Connie Cochran 2, Leslie Horn 2, Belinda Horn 1.