ROCKY BOY — Two weeks ago, the Rocky Boy boys basketball team wasn’t sure where it was headed. The Stars were struggling and their head coach was suspended.
But after Saturday night’s senior night game in Rocky Boy, the Stars look like they know exactly where they’re going. Rocky Boy demolished new Class A rival Havre 101-71 Saturday night, giving the Stars a three-game winning streak heading into this weekend’s District 1B Tournament.
“I’m proud of these boys,” Rocky Boy interim coach Jerome Gopher said. “They’ve been through a lot. This has been a long, tough season. So to come out here and beat a really tough Havre team, this is a big confidence boost for them.”
Meanwhile, the Blue Ponies fell to 6-11 on the season and dropped both of their games two the Stars in the inaugural season of the rivalry. However, Havre still has all its goals in front of it, as the Ponies will play at Browning Saturday night, and again in the opening round of the Central A Divisional tournament in two weeks.
“This was a tough one,” Havre High head coach Curt Leeds said. “We just didn’t defend well enough tonight. But we understand we have a big game coming up against Browning. That conference game is the big one for us, but we know we need to go down there and play a lot better than we did tonight.”
Saturday night’s win might have been a confidence booster for the Stars, but they already looked like a confident team right from the start. Bubby Gopher drilled two early 3-pointers and four total in the first eight minutes as Rocky Boy raced out to a 27-12 first-quarter lead. The Stars also got three’s from Junior Day Child and Desmond Parker in the first quarter.
Havre started to play better on offense in the second stanza, as Dane Warp and Nate and Kade Rismon all hit big shots. But the Stars weren’t about to let up. Skylar Parisian came in and nailed three triples on four trips down the floor, and Rocky Boy ran away and led 53-27 at intermission.
“They (Stars) can hit shots,” Leeds said. “And they hit a lot of them tonight. What makes them so tough is they have such a good inside presence with Lafromboise and Parker, and that opens things up for their shooters. And they have a bunch of guards who can really shoot it well.”
Havre did what it could to rally in the third period, but it wasn’t enough. Day Child and Parisian continued to fire at will, and after the Stars’ barrage in the first half, things started to open up in the key as Rocky Boy seemed to get layup after layup in the final 16 minutes. The Stars led 68-47 at the end of three quarters, and put another 33 points on the board in the final stanza.
“We did a really good job of moving the ball and finding the open man,” Gopher said. “We shared the ball really well. And we got a lot of good shots. I think we just played really good team basketball tonight.”
The Stars were a juggernaut offensively, and they were the same with a 90-point explosion against Conrad Friday night. In the win over Havre, Parisian scored 26 points and hit four trey’s, while Gopher buried an amazing seven triples and had 25. Day Child scored another 20 for the Stars, while Parker added 15.
Havre was much better offensively in the second half, as Warp finished with 29 points and four three’s. Nate Rismon hit three bombs and added 15 points, while Kade Rismon scored 14 and grabbed nine rebounds.
The back-to-back wins this weekend gave Rocky Boy a 10-8 overall record. The Stars will be the fifth seed at the upcoming 1B tourney in Cut Bank. But given what they did against the Class A Ponies Saturday night, they look like the team to beat in the postseason.
“I think we have a lot of confidence,” Gopher said. “Havre is a really good team, and they have beat some really good teams this season. So for us to win tonight, it shows us what we can do going forward.”
The Ponies will now prepare to wrap up the regular season this Saturday in Browning. The winner of that game will finish as the No. 2 seed in the Central A, though the outcome doesn’t change the bracket at the Central A tourney any. The Ponies and Indians will meet in the Central A semifinal March 1 in Belgrade.
Havre's Dane Warp looks to go to the basket during Saturday night's game in Rocky Boy. Warp scored a game-high 29 points, but the Stars prevailed.
Rocky Boy 101, Havre 71
Havre 12 15 20 24 – 71
Rocky Boy 27 26 15 33 – 101
Havre – Nate Rismon 15, Dane Warp 29, Brian Smith 5, Michael Bakke 6, Nate Korb 2, Kade Rismon 14.
Rocky Boy – Bubby Gopher 25, Isiah Murie 5, Desmond Parker 13, Lance Parker 4, Junior Day Child 20, Cecil LaFromboise 8, Skylar Parisian 26.
Total fouls – Havre 8, Rocky Boy 15. Fouled out – None. Three pointers – N. Rismon 3, Warp 4, Smith 1, B. Gopher 7, D. Parker 1, Day Child 1, Parisian 4.