By Kim Staudinger
The Havre Blue Ponies looked like a completely different team Friday night against Harlem than they did when they first faced the Wildcats over a month ago in Harlem. The score from the Dec. 14 game ended at 73-39, while Friday's game was a much closer 91-77.
Instead of being down 26-7 after the first quarter, Havre took an early 6-0 lead and were down by just three at the end of the quarter. Harlem took a 35-30 lead into the half, but not before an exciting second quarter.
With Harlem leading 15-11 less than 30 seconds into the quarter, three-pointers became the name of the game. Havre sophomore Trent Normandy hit his first of five threes on the game from the top of the key. Chris Cole answered Normandy's first three, but Normandy wasn't done and drained a three-pointer from the right corner. Harlem once again answered as Kyle Raining Bird hit a three-point shot near the top of the key. Making the game look more like a game of around the world, Normandy hit his third three from the left corner, forcing Harlem to call a timeout as the Ponies were within one. Both teams made 10 three-pointers on the game.
After the Harlem timeout, Steve Heberly made one of two free throws to tie it at 21. The Wildcats went on a small run, capped by a Pete Stiffarm three-pointer to take a 26-21 lead. The Ponies and Wildcats answered each other's baskets for the remaining three minutes of the half.
Coming out of the half, both teams continued to exchange baskets until midway through the quarter when the Ponies took a brief 47-46 lead after Ryan Lusin made two free throws.
That lead with 4:17 left in the third soon disappeared as the Ponies failed to scorefor the next 4:49. During that span, the Wildcats scored 23 points.
The Ponies' next basket came at the 7:28 mark in the fourth quarter as Mike Frey drove the left baseline for an easy basket. Frey scored all 11 of his points in the final eight minutes of play.
Havre cut the lead to nine midway through the fourth but couldn't quite muster enough to defeat the second-ranked Wildcats.
"The kids played well," Havre head coach Mark West said.
"From the first time we played them until now is like night and day."
Havre's weekend continued Saturday on the road at Glasgow. The Ponies fell behind early as the Scotties took a 26-12 lead after the first quarter. The Ponies were never able to bounce back and fell 86-51.
Shane Johnson drained seven three-pointers on the game and totaled 27 points to lead the way for Glasgow. Randy Elletson and Sam Brelje each added 16 and Dustin Hackwith had 11.
Ryan Lusin led the Ponies with 16 points and Titus Pedraza had 15.
Harlem was also on the road Saturday. The Wildcats lost their second game of the season, falling to Poplar 76-62.
Harlem Colby Fetter 18, Kyle Raining Bird 9, Wes Main 8, Ben Carrywater 9, Adam Bibgy 5, Chris Cole 20, Kevin Bigby 11, Jim Kennedy 4, Pete Stiffarm 7.
Havre Steve Heberly 11, Kyle Sheppard 5, Mike Frey 11, Trent Normandy 17, Cory Brothers 19, Doug Ireland 2, Titus Pedraza 2, Ryan Lusin 10.